Which Way Madness Lies?

Hilary Evans
Magonia 8, 1982
Early opponents of spiritualism claimed that it was liable to drive its a adherents mad; to which others riposted that adherents to spiritualism were probably mad to begin with. Is is the same with ufology? Nobody who delves at all deeply into the subject can escape moments when he doubts his own sanity. The question is, are we mad to get involved with the subject at all, or is it the subject which is eroding the ramparts of reason we so desperately defend against the lunacy around us?

The dilemma is forcefully presented by two recently published books, one of which sets out to be resolutely scientific and ends in a maze of total insanity, whereas the other, though dedicated to a ‘new bible’ revealed to an entranced dentist in nineteenth century America, contains as much sound sense as I have encountered anywhere of late.

Jean-Charles Fumoux, author of Preuves Scientifiques OVNI L’isocelie, embarked with some colleagues on a scientific analysis of French UFO landings. Pinned over his bed was a chart of the reported landings in the French 1954 wave. Idly contemplating it one day, he noticed that three of the sites made an isosceles triangle. Wondering casually if this was mere chance, he got out a ruler and started measuring others, found it was far from being an isolated example; and ended making a systematic analysis of all the landing sites His results, which were confirmed by two independent computer analyses, showed that by odds of 1000 to 1, there were more isosceles triangles linking ‘landing’ sites than chance would predict.

Understandably he took this phenomenon to be meaningful. And the only meaning suggesting itself was that it reflected intelligent behaviour on the part of the UFOs.

Here at last, he claims, is the long awaited scientific confirmation of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. And which of us is brave enough, or mathematician enough, to deny that his figures: must be significant of something?

But there is more to come. For when Fumoux went on to carry out a more detailed analysis of the figures, he discovered other, even more astonishing relationships. For example, the number of isosceles triangles with one side in common, equals the total number of isoceles triangles, divided by 1.61803, whereas the number of isosceles triangles without common sides equals that same number divided by the square of 1.61803. And 1.61803 is, it seems, the Golden Number of occult tradition:.

All of which encouraged Fumoux to delve ever more deeply and to discover several other coincidences involving what he calls “magic factors known since the night of time”. Indeed, it is all very remarkable, and the reader can hardly avoid sharing the enthusiasm of the writer as he turns up one astonishing correlation after another. Meaning there must surely be – can we resist the conclusion that here is a link between the ancient esoteric traditions and modern ufological activity. From which it follows that todays ufonauts and yester-days magicians must be …

I’d reached this point, that tiresome old scepticism of mine bubbling away impotently in the face of these crushing figures, which I was in no position to dispute, when I suddenly realised that there was an additional factor, not mentioned by Fumoux, which makes these mathematical synchronicities even more remarkable, if possible; which is, that they all relate to a data-base which is itself extremely questionable. Indeed a base which has only the barest chance of being the correct one:!

For all his calculations are based on those UFO landing reports of 1954 for which a precise location is known. And it is evident that these cannot make up the total of UFO activity in France during the period, for what about:

 ■ Landings which took place, but nobody saw?
 ■ Landings which were seen, but not reported?
 ■ Landings which were reported, but not reported accurately?
 ■ Landings which were reported accurately, but never came to Fumoux’s attention, being known only to some independent group?

Now it is possible that, if he had all these additional cases, they would be in just the same mathematical proportions as his collection; but it is far more probable that they would not. For, don’t forget, his mathematical relationships are very exact, that figure of 1.61803 is very, very precise: It would take only one or two erratic cases to set his calculations awry – whereupon all his magical mystery manipulations would become meaningless.

I do not accuse Fumoux of insincerity, for it shines out from his pages that here is a true believer, totally trusting his own logical process. I do not accuse the ufo-controllers of deliberately laying a false scent to lure M. Fumoux into a maze of false figures. I do not accuse the ufologists of France of having faked their findings to produce non-existent patterns. But somewhere along the line, between poor Madame Quelquechose phoning the gendarmes to say there’s a soucoupe volante hovering over her maison, and Fumoux’s computers proving that ‘magic’ and saucer are indissolubly linked, there has to be a weak link.

“Nearer and nearer came the visiting stars, the etherean ships from thousands of worlds.., and for three days and nights the visitors dwelt on the earth and in the lower atmosphere, inspecting how the earth was made…”

Yes, if you pick your quotes judiciously, you can see why John Newbrough’s new bible, OAHSPE, revealed to the world precisely a hundred years ago in 1881, has attracted the interest of the ‘cosmic brotherhood’ school of ufology. Walter Wier’s Last Battle for Earth presents the reader with massive chunks of the American dentist’s revelations, but the more he quotes, the more resistant the reader is liable to become to the idea that they are anything but a remarkable fantasy.

But whereas Fumoux’s pseudo-science conceals an ultimate barminess, Wier’s pathetic devotion to OAHSPE spoils what is otherwise a refreshingly perceptive study. The author is immensely well-read, by which I mean not simply that he’s read a lot of books, but that he’s read the right books. I shall not attempt to summarise his book, which in any case is not very conclusive: his main argument is on behalf of a more broadly-based approach to ufology, embracing a wide spectrum of disciplines. Psychokinesis, poltergeists, levitation, demonology and theology – all these are brought to bear on ufology.

The result is indigestible, to put it mildly, and Wiers has a tendency to say rather a little in rather a lot of words. But throughout it all one has the sense of a sane, inquiring mind, resolutely opposed to religion of all kinds, and to the warmongering that religion so often results in.

And so, through the looniness, the reader finds himself enjoying a splendidly irreverent conducted tour of the wilder shores of ufology. Here, for instance, he tries taking the Ancient Astronaut thesis literally:
What’s it like to be an ‘ancient astronaut? To descend upon a new world and become the chief God of some naked jabbering tribe, to teach them to wear skirts, to terrify the natives with assorted poltergeist phenomenon and advanced technology, to select some tribe to rule the planet through its prophets and priests, to teach them to teach their children that they are the Chosen of the Creator of the Universe so long as they obey the Holy Astronaut’s Holy Commandments, the most important being ‘Thou shaft kill whomsoever I call the enemy!”

Neither of these books is exactly a major contribution to ufology, though the first of them claims to be so. But each in its own way reminds us that each of our meticulously noted case histories – Mr Nobody of Nottingham waking at 2.30 by a light shining in his bedroom windows, sees pulsating triangle over the gasworks – should be evaluated in the widest of contexts.

Travellers to Magonia often return more than half-crazed by the adventures that have befallen them in the course of their explorations, but even though we do not always take their tales at face value, they are still well worth listening to.

  • FUMOUX, Jean Charles. Preuves Scientifiques OVNI l’Isocelie, Editions du Rocher, Monaco, 1981.
  • WIERS, Walter. Last Battle for Earth, published by the author, 527 S. Hobart Bl., Los Angeles, CA 90020, USA, 1978.