REFRAMING THE VERY ‘FRAME’ OF UFOLOGY
Article published with the cooperation of watcherstalk.com
Journalists and Reviewers can quote small portions along with full credits
One could say that the current debates within the UFO arena about proof, evidence, and where do we go “from here” are pretty much a matter of the methodology, but many others would say it has to do with the “nature” of science, itself, and the questions it further asks.
These questions and concepts are being “tested” in a book by Robbie Graham that says we must reevaluate our approaches and even learn ‘how’ to ask these questions and further deal with the phenomenon.
Authors that have contributed to this tome run the full gamut of discourse: from outright cynicism (Chris Rutkowski) to demands for a “new science” with “new questions,” and “methodologies” (which includes possibly all of the remaining writers).
“The phenomenon has not proven to be anything that can be resembled by our current standards of proof,” says Greg Bishop. “Therefore, UFO researchers and enthusiasts would best be served by making no firm judgments on any of the data___least on its existential origins…what many fail to realize is that most UFO witnesses have had our experience for which they have no benchmark” (pp. 192-193).
The book portends to offer “alternatives” to commonly professed directions that already exist, such as the “spaceships” of the extraterrestrials ‘theory.’ But when one looks much closer at each essay, one may find only the same bias and old arguments, but each ‘reframed’ along with ‘new boarders’ and new “picture frames.”
Somehow, Chris Rutkowski attempts to “separate” good-ole’-science as a ‘true science’ against and from ‘zealot’ UFO contactees, spiritualist-UFO-experiences, and psi activity. Rutkowski feels that if someway, solid scientific endeavors are divorced from anything paranormal-doctrinaire, things could somehow work out. Rutkowski says that ‘UFO zealots’ apply a “metamodernism” which can never be dispensed because they don’t rely on evidence, but psychic “belief.”
“The unwillingness of UFO zealots to confirm in any way with scientific methodology with regard to testing claims within their community negates their value,” says Rutkowski, “as a source of reliable information about the subject” (p. 156).
Rutkowski only raises more questions, to my mind, rather than answers them: which “zealots” is he truly referring to, the fanatics of religion, or that actual ‘zealotisms’ owned by scientists and academies themselves, many of which, in contradiction to Rutkowski, study parapsychology and psi in universities about the country and do real laboratory experiments. Surely, Rutkowski must recognize analysts such as the late Carl Jung. What does Rutkowski catalog “skeptic zealots” professing to be “scientific” but are really Religious Cultists of scientism, kind of a generally accepted and worshipped Scientology in disguise?
Does “science” evolve, specifically, its so-called “method”? What if the actual UFO phenomenon, on the other hand, is not readily malleable, amendable or able to be penetrated to its ‘core’ by the current archaic methods?
The other writers, in comparison, are a fresher-break-away-breath of new air.
Susan Demeter -St. Clair and Robert Brandsetter – Researchers
BEYOND THE FRAME
Joshua Cutchin builds upon the aforementioned conundrum and posits further components:
“Science is nothing more than a set of guidelines and tools to evaluate reality honestly and objectively, whereas materialism is an assumption based on the notion that only things applicable in a laboratory setting are worthy of labeling ‘real’…confirming the objective reality of telepathy, remote viewing, clairvoyance, or any other psi effect would devastate our understanding of natural law, which would, in turn, cripple the surety with which the scientific method operates: It would shatter materialism” (pp. 57-58).
Cutchin cites the inescapable telepathy research of Rupert Sheldrake who ‘rigorously” demonstrated the telepathy of pets (p. 56). Likewise, Ian Stevenson chronicled the “past-life memories and birthmarks” of children. Cornell University professor Daryl Bem showed that “intense emotion” may enhance psi phenomenon.
Once the psi Gennie is let out of the science bottle it is doubtful it will ever be “put back in.”
“Granted, they’re still banging the antiquated drum of eighteenth-century materialism, but at least a dialog is starting…from materialisms’’ ashes, a new model of reality, will arise wherein the scientific establishment accepts that he completely intangible, wholly interiorized phenomenon of human consciousness can manifest measurable effects in our physical world” (p. 58).
This is precisely where Mike Clelland descends into the deepest part of the “UFO Lake.”
“Of all UFO sightings reported each year, over half can’t be described as anything like a metal craft,” says Clelland. “Instead, the majority of reports are of ethereal glowing orbs, most often orange I color. People are seeing something that might not be physical at all, at least in the way we understand it, yet seemingly under intelligent control…my problem with ‘ufology’ is my own personal experiences. I’ve been at the receiving end of enough weird shit that nobody needs to tell me this stuff is real” (pp. 18-19).
It was one thing to talk dirty “about” UFO experiences, but it was another thing to be directly involved in a situation as an “experiencer” and witness, says Clelland, talking about his own encounters of “high strangeness” as well as the events of other “experiencers.”
Mike Clelland points out that even when more “mundane” UFO “sightseers” are asked properly-phased questions, there are often “other and unusual, personal events” that are often excluded by less inquisitive examiners. Clelland says that researches are only “barely dipping below the waterline” and avoiding he starkest elements of such cases. This is where Clelland sees the richest core of the topic—a ‘‘core” that he and fellow “experiencers” are actually living.
Usually, a much deeper and alarming story emerges, perhaps, a story about “missing time” or even “weirder stuff.” Clelland feels there are many “patterns” that should be examined and hold “clues” that might unravel this mystery (p. 29).
“The scientific community has either ignored or denounced the UFO phenomenon for close to 70 years. With very few receptive UFO researchers who try to wrestle with this mystery using any kind of scientific reign and up-framing it merely as metal spaceships from another planet…(not) strange invasion of consciousness…” (pp. 28-30).
Clelland notes that Dr. Leo Sprinkle, who has a Ph.D. in counseling and a professor of psychology at the University of Wyoming, also highlights the UFO phenomena as operating on “some subconscious level” in a kind of “manipulation” (p. 23). Clelland also cites Dr. Jeffrey L. Kripal of Rice University who also has encountered “bizarreness” which Clelland says has “no path to follow” as only private quests of which we can’t expect to solve.
SCIENCE IS LIMITED
M.J. Banias travels further into the “swamp” of confusion and “old methodology.”
“We accept the ideological myths told by sciences that ‘make sense’ to us,” says Banias. “However, significant science ‘facts’ have been proven and later disproven as human knowledge expands, grows and shifts; as our cultural and social landscape changes, so do current scientific knowledge.”
Banias says that “science has adopted an ideological illusion that it is the only road to the truth,” when in reality, it actually is the “harbinger” of the destruction of “religion and philosophy.”
“Interestingly, we collectively understand scientists included, that science does not have all the answers right now,” says Banias. “We also understand that future developments will undoubtedly change many of the scientific rules, laws, and theories we know…” (p. 135).
Banias draws much from the movie THEY LIVE (1988) which suggests ‘reality” — True Reality — is “inaccessible” ___ almost always “shaped by ideological constructs” which are “value and belief systems” established in our minds by social and cultural upbringing—an invented universe—but the true reality is forever out of reach, our vision to see it handicapped by our social and cultural illusion, languages, and these mechanisms” (p. 132).
Science, says Banias, is an anthropomorphic consciousness, not a literal “thing,” only a collection of socially accepted ideological constructs, methods, and mechanisms, controlled by economic and political issues (p. 137).
M.J. Banias – Researcher
“Mainstream capitalist culture has no choice but to reset UFO discourse as it calls into question the ideological illusion, which capitalism must maintain” (p. 143).
Banias agrees that the so-called “scientific method” should be maintained, but not without a warning; “…the razor cuts both ways, and the ideological mechanism of the sciences can be as dogmatic as the religious tents of the UFO believers” (ibid).
Even if a UFO were to land on the White House lawn tomorrow, the whole affair would be obstipated by the current political and social systems of “‘general sciences, and, therefore, into capitalist ideologized structures…the status quo is maintained…no public announcement…” (ibid).
Smiles Lewis sees the obstacles of the current ufology and its present components:
“In our attempts at understanding UFOs and possible contact with Alien Others, let us recognize the challenge of resisting and overcoming such taboos, so that we may be free of both the cultural overlays imposed by our farther perception,” says Lewis, “and the perception management programs that have been waged against us, whether in furthermore of global governance or materialistic independence and xenophobic tribalism” (p. 120).
The amount of paranoia from “agent provocateurs” has gathered about. Lewis mentions “ol’ Carl Jung” and his “ideas on the collective unconscious” and the archetypes Lewis implants “so deeply into my ideas about UFOs.”
Lewis discloses that the CIA, as the OSS, used Allen Dulles’s “psychological profiling” of Hitler and the German people during the war. This included Dulles’s beliefs on the paranormal and psychological warfare purposes.
There was also the matter of Dr. Leon Davidson, a researcher that worked in the Manhattan Project. It was Dr. Davidson who, back in the 1950s and into the 1970s, was talking about the idea that the UFO phenomenon was being manipulated by the CIA as part of a Cold War “tool’ for disinformation to the Soviets—as well as other reasons. Lewis guides the reader to visit “A Loner Chemist’s Quest to Expose UFO Cover-up,” Philip Coppens, http://www.philipcoppens.com’davidsonhtml/.
Lewis says Allen Dulles liked the ideas of Carl Jung and invented the mutual idea of ‘benign aliens’ visiting earth as a “magical” illusion in tricks, UFO sightings, landings, contacts, along with other military “test” sightings. Dulles found saucer clubs and their propaganda as an “ideal” vehicle (p. 120).
The writer cites the investigations of Kenn Thomas and Peter Lavenda that likewise spied these trends in the CIA Post-WW II American Nazism, and MKUltra activities, involving characters such as Lee Oswald, Ted Kaczynski, and Whitey Bulger, the Mafioso, as well as Dr. Ewen Cameron’s MKUltra experiments. Lewis goes into many examples of such connections throughout his essay.
Greg Bishop says that for year’s ufologists craved “respectability” by seeking out the ‘perfect case,’ well-documented by video, radar returns and physical ‘traces’ by which ‘doubters’ visualize as the ‘holy Grail’ of UFO cases.
There are already enough ideas in this regard and it has not made much difference to those when the researcher they hope to impress,” says Bishop. “Perhaps a quest for deeper and wider of relevant and previously overlooked issues and their implications is what is called for at this time, and not the need to be believed or accepted” (p. 189).
The ETH theory doesn’t adhere to newer standards, leaving us at “cross-purposes.” “The experience is not available on demand,” says Bishop, “nor is it amenable to normal scientific scrutiny” (ibid).
In some UFO encounters there is no “benchmark” to work with, says Bishop, almost as if they are thrown into an “alternate reality” where something seems to have been ignored or derided, and suddenly “peacefully presented to them” (p. 193).
“The phenomena have not proven to be anything that can be recovered by current standards of proof,” says Bishop. “Therefore, UFO researchers and enthusiasts would best be served by making no firm judgments on any of the data___at least no firm judgment on any of the data—at least on it existential origins” (p.192).
Bishop points to Greek philosopher who gave us Pyrrhonism as a model of inquiry. “Any viewpoint on this weird subject does not cover all the bases” (ibid).
“What the psychedelics seem to me to agree on is that reality is not reality. There may be no reality, but certainly, this is not it. This is some kind of highly provisional culturally genetic hallucination that we are all participating” (p. 214)
“Such is the traumatic nature of the UFO experience,” says Robert Brandstetter. “What started as a story about seeing something strange in the sky has since been manufactured into mythology by the whole cabal of gladiators in the arena of ufology” (p.212).
Brandstetter recounts some of the more popular UFO cases when examined closely (as well as his personal ‘Contactee’ episodes, in the context of Donald Hoffman with his “Conscious Realism and its Mind-Body problem”) represents unexplained and “unique approach to seeing” (p. 215). There are “symbols of a reality outside of our own perceptual apparatus,” and Brandstetter suggests “we might do well to engage in more long-term studies of witnesses who have been altered to get a better measure of the unknown external stimulus.”
“There is a danger in surrendering the ego and identity, and so the call of the UFO may simply be one that is mirroring something much simpler to us,” says Brandstetter. “Do not try to penetrate the mystery, for that is not the way, but learn about yourself and what you are at the edges of the capacities of your biology…the UFO mystery…achieve to reflect…as a social species” (p. 228).
Micah Hanks readily agrees that science needs some major revisions to come to grips with the UFO Mystery, while skepticism is needed, it should be a healthy skepticism and not a debunking.
“Modern skepticism can, I think, be summarized in many instances, as an ideology, around where a social movement has been built—one that today also runs tangent with atheism—and as a paradoxically evangelical attitude about the supremacy of science above all other forms of knowledge” (p. 79).
Hanks leaned heavily on Allen Hendry’s comprehensive book THE UFO HANDBOOK, “perhaps one of the better approaches.” Hanks even suggests a new scale of sighting classification (p. 66).
MITIGATING UFO CIRCUMSTANCES
Just about the time, you may think the writers have brought enough of the ‘new’ and ‘awkward,’ some of the writers bring out circumstances that further mitigate events.
Jack Brewer sees the phenomenon in terms of “high strangeness” much like Dr. Jacques Vallee and the late John Keel who are opposed to the popular ETH theory. But worse yet, there are indications of “more” earthly origins, such as a super-weapon Project Seal. This was soon followed by “deception programs” of Colonel Carl Goldbranson who did such things as a 1950 Rand-Air Force report titled The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare. This was later expanded to ‘deception’ or ‘tests’ such as those of British Major Jasper Maskelyne and World War II Major General Edward Geary Lansdale who (in the words of Project Grudge) relate to “psychological propaganda” (pp. 37-38).
Brewer says the same Colonel Edward Lansdale’s “running around” the Philippines inventing “psycho-weapons” about “vampires among the Huks” was part of this psychodrama. Lansdale also applied more “political-psychological warfare,” all under the supervision of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Allen Dulles. The infamous Robertson Panel was born out of this milieu (p. 38).
Some of these “psycho-events” are, no doubt, causing trauma, which needs to be adequately studied when it occurs to UFO witnesses. Better “methods,” suggests Brewer, need to be invented.
“If we are to find events of interest at the heart of what became truly phenomenal social occurrences,” says Brewer, “we would be noted to drop preconceived notions to the best of our abilities.”
Lorin Cutts also feels that the phenomenon is “manipulative,” and the faulty perceptions and questions are furthermore questionable approaches. These “faulty approaches” were, in fact, “myths” that permeate the whole UFO “belief systems,” either of alleged extraterrestrial origins or, even the complete skeptical arena as “abuse” (p. 82).
Cutts says much is happening about the globe to indicate “something anomalous” is occurring. Cutts points to the Yakima, Washington “hot spot” as a typical example; however, when getting to the “core” of the phenomena “has been frozen in a cadre of myth and ignorance” (p. 87).
“Current scientific understanding will never be the truth of the entire universe,’ says Cutts. “Science, while the foundation of societal development, will always be something of a paper-god…from within this void, come magical, high strangeness, and human experience that continue to mystify and confuse” (p. 89).
“Telepathy, disembodied voices, and other psychic experiences have been scientifically explored for more than a century via psychical research and parapsychology,” states Susan Demeter-St. Clair, “…that high strangeness UFO reports that include various types of psychic phenomena may be the key to a greater understanding of the UFO enigma, or, at the very least, trigger more meaningful questions in our on-going efforts to understand it” (p. 166).
St. Clair says the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, as well as psychoanalyst Carl Jung, pointed to a wider world of “poltergeist phenomena, electrical disturbances, telepathy, synchronicity, and other paranormal occurrences…all…converged…with otherworldly intelligence” (p. 169).
Hillary Evans, Eric Davis, Jacques Vallee, Massimo Teudorani, Dr. Harley Rutledge, Scott Rogo, Eric Ouellet, all allude to the various psi or psychological elements in UFO Cases.
“When applied to individual cases and different UFO flaps, some interesting insights and patterns begin to emerge,” says St. Clair (p. 175).
“’Nuts and bolts’ ufologists pride themselves on having a scientific mindset…challenge them to consider what some professional scientists who have looked into UFOs have had to say in regards to high strangeness…Project Identification, conducted by Dr. Harley Rutledge, and it has been well documented that several synchronicities were noted throughout the study. Astromasimo Teodorani comments on Rutledge’s work and shares a similar experience of his own while musing on the possibility of a ‘mind-matter creation,’ i.e., a parapsychologist event…” (p. 173).
“The steadfast adherence to the ETH among UFO enthusiasts is akin to religious faith. To a degree, the same can be said of those skeptics,” says St. Clair, “who apply the null hypotheses as to the possible explanation for unresolved cases. Such dogmatic stances are harmful to the subject, and certainly, they do nothing to further the progress of understanding” (p. 177).
St. Clair, along with all the mentioned researchers, feel that UFO cases involved “paranormal elements” and are best served by “utilizing parapsychological models.” Dr. Harley Rutledge documented ‘synchronicities” throughout his study. Teodorani sees them as a “mind-matter creation.” The other researchers see a definite parapsychological connection, “…this adds a dimension of synchronicity or a meaningful coincidence to these UFO events, and this, in the scholarly literature, and plays a strong role in the overall UFO experience” (p. 173).
To re frame the UFO debate we need to formulate new models for analyzing existing and incoming data,” says St. Clair, “and introduce innovative hypotheses by asking better questions that have thus far been asked…by acknowledging the high strangeness and absurdity of UFO encounters and viewing them through these lenses we can finally begin a forward momentum” (pp.177-178).
Expanding on the parapsychological theory, Red Pill Junkie says that many UFO events were internalized apparitions of turmoil in our ‘crisis apparitions’ of poltergeist activity in ghostly manifestations often referred to as the “trickster” (pp. 130, 155).
“The Trickster” phenomena accounts are replete down through history: Spring Heeled Jack in the 19th century, the Mad Gasser of Mattoon of the 1930s, or Mothman in the 1960s and its ‘trickster’ called Indrid Cold. Red Pill Junkie refers to this as the “chaotic catalyst” of the “cosmic jokesters” that historically tries to “shake us out of our collective stagnation” asking us to look beyond the “dark (k) night of the soul” and explore the psychologies of the “trickster.”
EXPANSION OF AWARENESS
“This expansion of awareness needs also to be explored,” says Ryan Sprague. “Even to scratch some of the enigmas, we must move past the mobility that we are dealing with nuts and bolts, past the notion that the key to the UFO phenomena lies in physical analysis.”
Many of the UFO witnesses Sprague interviewed spoke of feeling like “their reality was somehow altered at the moment…this passage between established and newfound realities is where UFOs seem to float, hover, zip, coast, appear and disappear in and out of ambiguity” (pp. 182, 183).
Sprague quotes fellow researcher Jim Keith from his article in Paranoia Magazine, “UFOs at the Edge of Reality”:
“The fact that ten people or a thousand people believe the same thing does not render said thing any more real and in an absolute sense, but it does point out the structural underpinnings of the determent of this illusion called reality.”
It all depends on those investigators who opt to spend their time, knowledge and resources to study the phenomena, looking beyond current structures that others have helped to create in which they “have brought a monster we want to destroy nor resurrect ever again” (pp. 186-187).
Curt Collins feels UFO researchers need to “refocus” and Collins examines a well-established “expose’” of a UFO claim in which Collins was a party to as it exposed what had become to be known as the infamous “Roswell Slides” of November 2014 that purported to be the body of an extraterrestrial from a crashed UFO; extensive “teamwork” between many UFO skeptics and collaborators exposed that the slides were, in fact, a mummified body of a two-year-old boy. The ‘team” became known as the Roswell Slides Research Group;
All members worked from the examination of different pieces of the claim until a final identification was made as an earthly mummified boy.
The Roswell Slides Research Group, while it demonstrates the amazing ability to accomplish results of “teamwork,” not much is said exactly how that would apply to the technically sensitive arena of psi or parapsychology—which are still virgin sciences.
“Groups can be great tools, but they have their limitations,” says Collins. “Each of us must remain objective, seek the best evidence and ask challenging questions whether part of a team or an individual” (p. 108).
Robbie Graham attempts to give a summation of these events (pp. xxxii-xxxiii):
“I encourage that you approach this book from the perspective of an anthropologist…understanding UFOs and related phenomena is a glacially slow process that is in its fetal stages…a cold hard slap in the face for ‘ufology’ delivered with love. It is a call to break away from established ideas, approaches, and practices and to boldly travel a new path…”
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Steve Erdmann, Investigative Journalist