Magonia 54, November 1995
We can now tie up a few loose ends on a couple of the early abduction cases. Firstly, Antonio Villas-Boas. Thanks to Luis Gonzalez, who supplied me with photocopies, I can confirm that the SBEDV Bulletin of April-July 1962, which published the AVB case was written in English (after a fashion!). It was the export and exchange magazine for the Brazilian group, so it was clear that a number of English-speaking ufologists must have known about the case before its appearance in Flying Saucer Review.
In fact the earliest fragmentary mention of AVB can be traced to UFO Critical Bulletin of January-February 1959, which reported (according to SBVED, January 1973) "a woman, but not monstrous, and a peasant had sexual intercourse aboard a flying saucer". UFO Critical Bulletin was jointly edited by J. Escobar Faria of Brazil, and Richard Hall, Donald Keyhoe's sidekick in NICAP. It was a cautious journal, and sceptical of contactees. If so cautious a source referred to AVB there is a reasonable possibility that fuller versions of the tale had appeared in less restrained sheets prior to 1962. Indeed. in the 1950's volume of Jerome Clark's UFO Encyclopaedia, he mentions that APRO's version of the case was starting to leak out in the early sixties.
Much more significant has been the calculation by Mike White that the stimulus behind the 'Rocky Mountain High' case of April 1964 (see 'Fairyland's Hunters' part 2, Magonia 47) was Venus. I had been witholding any further comment until I was able to get Mike to recheck his astronomical data with the time and exact location of the case. He has now done this, and Venus fits. What this means is that a misperception of a planet can generate a very complex series of experiences and beliefs, even in the absence of massive cultural impact. The imagery in this case cannot have come from ufology; it must have come from popular culture (films, comics, etc.), folklore and experiences generated within the brain.
This shows that IFO's can generate an Enchantment (the 'Oz Factor') and, furthermore, that some notions of abductions, UFO linked poltergeist effects and animal reactions were already present in the public imagination well before the mass publicity of the current abduction stories. Dare I suggest, yet again, that traditional fairy and supernatural lore may have been the template onto which such stories were built.
All this simply reinforces what we should have learned from Allan Hendry's UFO Handbook fifteen years ago, but what too many ufologists have been trying their damndest to forget ever since: astronomical IFO's are capable of generating awsome, emotionally stirring fantasies, much more so than many other superficially more spectacular stimuli such as advertising planes. Does this relate to the speculation of the late Dr Stephen Black that the flicker-effect of bright stars and planets seen in some atmospheric conditions may have generated altered states of consciousness in some people? I could also point out that like 90% of Hendry's cases, Mike White was able to solve this case from a library chair. If 90% of cases can be solved by consulting an ephemeris or by a few phone calls to airports of met. offices, then with intense field investigation the overwhelming majority of the remaining 10% would be solved.
Meanwhile here is another forgotten abduction story. The narrator is a pilot:
I had walked away ... and could still see [my plane], when a terrific sensation overtook my senses. as if my body had been suddenly pushed into the deep freeze compartment of a refrigerator.I could not move a muscle but noticed that a beam of light started encircling me. and then this beam revealed ... a metallic object above me, the size of which I was unable to determine. The beam was guiding me towards something the sight of which made me feel like screaming for my comrades... but... like in a nightmare I was unable to made a sound. I was then grabbed by small but unusually strong hands and grabbed into a compartment of the metallic object where the numbness left me along with my consciousness.When I came to I realised what had happened. I wore a helmet that fitted snugly atop my head and again I got the shock of my life. I found that the little men spoke to me mentally and in English. I was then told why I had been taken by those midgets whose appearance reminded me of [Disney's] seven dwarfs ... "You are going to the home of all men, Mars," he told me, "and you will undergo a change which will protect you from bodily harm, for as long as you shall have like and be useful to us ..."I was then told to look out of a peep-hole slit which served as a porthole, only to see that the Earth had shrunk away to the size of a orange. It was then that panic overtook me. "Again those little ones guessed what I was about to do [so] they pointed a little pencil-like affair at me and I immediately felt numb again, thus disabling me from striking down one or two of my captors.
This curious tale is from an 'allegorical story' in Robert Dickhoff's Homecoming of the Martians, an encyclopaedic work on flying saucers published in India in 1958. To add to the interest, the whole bizarre book is full of references to abductions and spacenappings. Indeed, Dickhoff gave a lecture at the Steinway Hall, New York, called 'Martians Have Landed: Earthmen Disappear', and refers to an article 'Are Flying Saucers Kidnapping Humans' by Leroy Thorp, published in Man to Man magazine in October 1953.
Dickhoff, a self-proclaimed Buddhist monk, was later to write an even more bizarre work, Behold the Venus Garuda, self-published in 1968 about giant man-eating birds from flying saucers. One reviewer in a UFO magazine of the time complained that his copy of the book came as separate pages wrapped up in a cellophane shirt packet!