Monday, June 18, 2012

Update on my strange OOBE

About a week ago, my wife experienced a night terror episode during which she woke herself up, screaming that she was dying. Today, she told me what caused it: she had distinctly felt a hand grabbing her leg, felt the vibratory beginnings of an OOBE, and, interpreting the experience as a visit from the "angel of death," woke herself up.

I had never told her about my almost-identical experience... I didn't think it was all that significant, and I knew that, as a devout evangelical Christian, she would interpret it according to her belief system--which teaches a strict dichotomy of good and evil.

But I now ask myself: What did we experience?

First off, it's my opinion that this was no angel of death. In all of my readings about NDEs, OOBEs, and death-bed visions, I don't remember a single reference to an angel of death. Without going into a lot of boring detail, the notion of an "angel of death" violates a number of principles that govern the nonphysical world as I understand it.

I suspect that what we experienced was a localized, nonphysical being of some sort that is / was heavily rooted in physical symbolism--what earlier cultures called an "earthbound spirit."

I have had one or two experiences with "higher" nonphysical presences, and they never resort to physicality. They would never do anything as overtly physical as grab me by my leg. What I felt was distinctly physical, strangely so--particularly since it definitely felt like a physical grab, even though I saw nothing.

Beyond that, it is impossible to know who or what this particular goblin might have been. And I think that this is where "belief creates reality" is operative. I saw the experience as a peculiar, interesting, but not particularly edifying encounter with a clumsy spirit; someone else saw it as an angel of death.

On a side note, the last Richard Dolan show that I listened to briefly discussed the persistent rumor that there are ET bases on the "dark side" of the moon. This is one nuts-and-bolts UFO notion that I think has merit--because I've seen it referenced in a wide range of literature, not just in UFOlogy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the chances are greater than 50/50 that such outposts exist. Such an outpost, assuming that it exists, would be a physical artifact from a physical ET presence, and it's possible that world governments suspect this. Hence, the rapid buildup by the Chinese in space technology--part of a plan to visit the moon within a decade. I don't normally buy into the conspiracies of the disclosure crowd, but this one may be worth a second glance.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not to belabor the point, but.

First, I want to thank Kandinsky for the link to the "True" magazine issue. I do believe that it is the issue that I remember. (The iPhone Blogger app freezes when I try to post comments, which I tried to do.) I think that there might have been a later issue also examining the UFO enigma. When I get time, I want to read it in detail. My initial impression, just glancing over the material, is that UFOlogy hasn't really evolved much from the 1960s. In fact, I think that it has regressed a bit. Those "True" articles were scary stuff, particularly to a nine-year-old, and the topic was mainstream then. UFOlogy today is highly marginal and mostly boring. Richard Dolan dances around this core problem here and there... he furnishes some compelling research and fascinating stories... and I think that his contribution to the subject has been substantial. But UFOlogy today is, on the whole, boring. (But that's just my opinion.)

Ironically, the disclosure folks--who are generally regarded as the crazies by serious UFOlogists--have one argument that I think is worth thinking about: *If* there is a coverup, by some arm of the American security apparatus, of a substantial amount of UFO data of compelling importance, the United States has ceased to be a democracy, or even a republic. I'm on the fence on this subject.. There is anecdotal evidence that there has been a coverup, but, so far, the "proof" of such has been seriously flawed.

It's intellectually lazy to ascribe anything that we can't parse or analyze to a cabal of conspiracists bent on deceiving us, but this does not necessarily mean that there isn't such a cabal bent on deceiving us.

But, not to belabor the point, during Dolan's last show (or, the one I just got through hearing), a caller asked him what he thought of the "Men In Black" phenomenon. The MIB phenom is pretty much a litmus test of basic UFO belief: Those who emphasize the MIB feature tend to believe that UFOs are not nuts-and-bolts... Instead, they represent something else entirely, perhaps something completely different from what they appear to be. Dolan punted on his answer, saying, I think, that MIB were "strange" before moving on to the next topic.

To me, the MIB subject is actually more fascinating than the UFO that precedes it, and it may offer a window into an essential nature of the phenomenon. There are analogs to other paranormal phenomena--visions of "Jesus," or other angelic-type visitations, are often followed by "dark" entities that try to persuade the witness that the whole sighting was a hallucination. (My recent post of an NDE account describes such an appearance.) My suspicion is that the appearance of dark, menacing, or otherwise non-human entities might represent a core archetype of our reality. Perhaps such displays are triggered by certain behaviors or beliefs and are designed as an automatic enforcement mechanism meant to keep the human animal in his corral. Perhaps they are our consciousness's breakdown of a greater gestalt into a "good versus evil" narrative. While it's quite useful (and generally prudent) to view everything that we see and experience as "real," it's also possible that our experiences are, instead, symbolic--and that the reality that they symbolize is "somewhere else." The UFO is notable, then, not so much for what it appears to be--an extraterrestrial machine--but for an unknown reality that waits to be discovered behind its appearance.

Monday, June 11, 2012

True magazine

I am still enjoying Richard Dolan's podcast... agreeing with some of what he says, strongly disagreeing with others. I think that my disagreement with him is not one of fact but of ideology. Dolan is a very concrete thinker; very nuts-and-bolts, black-and-white: A contemporary Stanton Friedman. There really is nothing wrong with that, except that many students of UFOlogy believe that the field is more complex, nuanced, and muddier that what initially appears.

A prime example: the phenomenon of human abduction. It's my gut hunch that "abductions" really have nothing to do with the metallic craft that whizz and whisk above us. There is nothing about the appearance of a Grey at the foot of your bed at 3 a.m., and the orange orbs that show up over nuclear installations. No connection between "missing time," along with the telepathic receipt of cryptic information, and possible alien bases on the dark side of the moon. Yet, UFOlogists conflate the two distinct phenomena, based on a few accounts that associate the "Greys" with aerial craft. Is this distinction important? I think so, if you want to study the phenomena with a semi-scientific approach. UFOlogists pool together piles of anomalous phenomena, which may or may not have any causal association, and declare that it's all part of some amorphous alien unknown.

To me, the gross errors of logic and methodology of someone like Dr. David Jacobs is the consequence of this mindset. UFOs = aliens. UFOs = abductions. Hence, UFOs = hybridization of the human and "alien" race.

I actually believe that some UFOs might be "alien" craft. But I am increasingly believing that "abductions" are something else, a true unknown (we at least sort of know what UFOs "are"), and we can't rule out a sort of mass hysteria or psychopathology that, while quite real, is not really alien.

Where I find Dolan important is that he can ( I think) be a reliable reporter of fact. When he says such-and-such general saw this-or-that, I believe that he is correct.

The problem with UFO phenomenon is that it is heavily shrouded in a powerful "anti-structural" cover that tends to disintegrate any logical attempt to discern its origin and meaning. An alarming number of researchers have gone insane, committed suicide, or have destroyed their lives and careers after doggedly trying to expose the "truth" about UFOs. Little wonder, then, that some commentators deem UFOs "demonic" while others (such as Whitley Strieber) assume that they represent a form of logic both higher, and antithetical, to human logic. We don't know. It may be possible that we can't know.

One reason that I think that Strieber may be on to something is that, if intelligent life has evolved elsewhere, it might be not only physically different but human life, but it may assemble reality in a completely different manner than humans do. "Reality" is, largely, a product of our physical brains. But again... Do Strieber's experiences have anything to do with UFOs? Or with aliens, for that matter? There is no firm, causal link between conventional accounts of UFOs, and the high-strangeness phenomena that many UFOlogists associate with UFOs.

But that wasn't what I really wanted to write about. Dolan mentioned something that's been forgotten by modern UFOlogy: the importance of "True" magazine to mainstreaming of the UFO mystery. "True" was a magazine that was published between 1937 and 1974. I read the magazine avidly in the '60s, as a pre-teen. "True" printed a number of articles by Donald Keyhoe, which had a major impact on me. In fact, I think that "True" devoted an entire issue to the subject in 1969, an issue that I read over and over with growing fascination and terror. For years, I've doggedly tried to find a copy of that issue, without success. Even today, it's hard to dig up any information on "True" or that particular issue, even the publication date, but I can personally attest to the impact that it had on me and probably thousands of others. So if any stumblers-upon this blog have any information on that particular issue of "True," I would be grateful.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


For a change of pace, I'm listening to the audiobook of Bart Ehrman's "Forged." My youth followed a trajectory similar to Ehrman's--as a teen, I was a devoted fundamentalist Christian, but when I read a textual analysis of the Bible, I could no longer deny that the Bible was the work of man, rather than the inspired (and inerrant) word of God. Like Ehrman, I became an agnostic.

Erhman's scholarship and logic are above reproach. Unarguably, the bulk of the books of the New Testament are, indeed, forgeries--written by later Christian scholars, not by the the apostles represented. Still, I find them interesting, because they present us with a snapshot of Christian theology as it is beginning to grow from localized sects into a world religion.

It's been thirty years since I studied the New Testament, so Ehrman's conclusions don't particularly disturb me, yet I am hesitant to recommend this book to a mainstream Christian. I don't think it's good karma to destroy the beliefs of good people, if the beliefs do them good. The Christian Bible provides a flawed, but useful, template of behavior and belief that, overall, tends to be positive even though, on the whole, it is not what it purports to be.

After all, what do we *really* know about the events in Palestine of the first century CE? Very little. I have a hunch that discoveries may be made this century that may have profound implications for Christianity and other world religions, but for now, I am content to continue my unorthodox research and not worry about the details.

To me, the biggest stumbling block that organized religion throws before us is the denial of individual and personal, mystical, and intuitive experience that can directly inform us of the nature of the "greater" non-physical reality. We don't need to study an ancient text of questionable authorship to discover this greater reality. We can experience it ourselves, daily. This message is very clear in the teachings of Jesus--those that have survived intact. I really doubt that Jesus wanted to create a religion. I suspect that his original intent was to create a path, a "way" to enlightenment, for those to follow as they wished.