Alienating Fancies: The Influencing Machine Fantasy, Part 2

Martin Kottmeyer
Magonia 50, September 1994

George Hunt Williamson greatly expanded the scope of his tale with his next work Other Tongues – Other Flesh. The origin of man is traced to a migration of spirit from the star-sun Sirius which fuses with the native apes of Earth. Extraterrestrial influence nowadays comes in two types. One comes from the Orion nebula and takes over weak-bodied Earth people making them agents subservient to their will. They are used as instruments to introduce people to other people and to ask leading questions at lectures.

These agents tend to run amok and upset the plans of other space intelligences. Benevolent space people regard these materialistic types as pirates of creation or universal parasites. They are identified by the strange, far-away glassy look in their eyes and by muscle spasms or throbbing in the neck. Heavy drinkers were also said to be at risk of submitting to telepathic Orion control.

The other influence is a general background of cosmic radiation bearing Universal Knowledge. Williamson variously refers to it as a “music of the spheres”, a Great Cosmic Intelligence permeating space, or a universal influx from outer space. Magnetic anomalies on Earth associated with fault lines and volcanoes act as amplifiers of this music. Great civilisations spring up over these anomalies and yield a refinement in the arts and living conditions. Williamson adds that the entire solar system is entering a new possibility area of the universe in which everything will change for the better in all fields of life from economics, politics, eating habits to religion and science.

This is possible because he believes the brain acts as a radio set for this radiation. Everything man thinks, says, does and creates is magnetism and magnetism is a Universal “I AM”. This phrase may indicate roots in Guy Ballard’s doctrine of the I AM which in turn is rooted in Theosophy’s doctrine that man is a spiritual being who is an emanation of the Universal Spirit, rather like a light beam is an emanation of the sun. Beneath man’s passions and reasonings can be found pure being, the pure “I”. (1)

Williamson co-authored a third book with John McCoy entitled UFOs Confidential! It had far fewer ambitions than the previous book. Artificial chemicals in our food supply are said to be controlling man’s emotional nature. McCoy reveals that a ringing in the ears indicates space people are beaming instructions into the subconscious mind. He also advocates we seek love and not lustful sex. “No master of darkness can project LOVE frequency”, he proclaims. (2) I’m tempted to term such thoughts grandly naive were it not for the fact that there is a mythic quality to the total portrait. There are too many errors and idiosyncrasies not to dismiss it all as a crank’s cosmology yet, in the hands of a more disciplined SF author Other Tongues – Other Flesh could be rewritten into a nice work of imagination.

One other lesser figure is known to me as displaying a control motif. Dr Leon Davidson graced the pages of Flying Saucers magazine with his notions about how the CIA was hoaxing parts of the UFO phenomenon. He explained how George Adamski wasn’t taken into outer space by Venusians, but was escorted to Camp Irwin, California where agents and operatives faked his contact using movie technology and drugs. Davidson was a chemical engineer with atomic energy projects through the forties and fifties, including Los Alamos and Oak Ridge. (3)

The sixties, despite a voluminous literature, saw at best two or three figures advancing alien mind-control notions. John Cleary-Baker, during a lecture in April 1966, expressed a belief that flying saucers were involved in tampering with people’s brains, perhaps by a medical operation which would cause them to act in accord with alien suggestions. He asserted he could recognise people possessed by an alien spirit who were occupying positions in society.

John Michell did not particularly accept Cleary-Baker’s idea, but noted flying saucer apparitions were “ideally calculated to disturb the order of our thoughts, to put us in a state of mental anarchy which must precede the start of a new phase of our history”. He reviewed many tales from mythology which indicated to him the spark of civilisation was ignited by gods borne in sky vehicles, though this wasn’t consistently a premeditated act. Michell viewed the renewed interest in extraterrestrials as a return to an older orthodoxy represented by the religious observances of antiquity. “The possibility that our whole development has been influenced by extraterrestrial forces, with which we may again have to reckon some time in the future, is still hardly considered.” Michell would prove himself remarkably prophetic with that little sentence. (4) In the decade that followed, most ufologists would reckon with that possibility.

The Lorenzens first advance alien mind control notions in UFOs over the Americas (1968). Confronted with indications of hallucinations in the Peruvian case of CAV, they speculate that the UFO occupants projected thoughts designed to influence him to describe images and activities he thinks he saw, but what he actually saw is not remembered at the conscious level. In a different vein, they suggest the beeping sounds in the Hill case suggest the presence of a mechanical device by which ufonauts lure and control humans through magnetic fields or hypnotic sounds. Though granting the notion seems like rank science fiction they grant it plausibility on the grounds that the brain is “nothing more or less than a very complex computer”. The error is telling, even if commonplace. (5)

The situation changes radically in the seventies. The control motif appears frequently, is mentioned by most major figures, and dominates the theoretical scene as the core concept in several works.

In pure ambition of vision, ufologists will find it very hard to ever top the writings of John Keel. Reservations cloud acceptance of the raw material he builds from, but no one need qualify an appreciation of the effort of construction. Drawing on an impressive range of sources, Keel sketches a dark, feathery chiaroscuro of mysterious lights and shadowy patterns of deceptions which plays on primal fears about human powerlessness and naivety. Keel abandoned the ETH in 1967 when psychic phenomena emerged in his thinking as a full facet of the UFO problem.

In pure ambition of vision, ufologists will find it very hard to ever top the writings of John Keel. Reservations cloud acceptance of the raw material he builds from, but no one need qualify an appreciation of the effort of construction

Operation Trojan Horse (1970) is his research effort stimulated by this change in perspective. Keel adopts the premise that humans have crude biological crystal sets in their heads which unconsciously receive sophisticated signals of an electromagnetic nature and bearing an omnipotent intelligence which has great flexibility of form. They advance beliefs in various frameworks of thought. Prior ages received Trojan Horses in the shapes of angels, fairies, spirits, phantom armies, mystery inventors and their airships, and ghost rockets. States of mystical illumination and possession accompany receipt of these signals and forward belief in occult happenings. Keel also advances the idea that there are window areas around which UFO sightings congregate – areas typified by a “magnetic fault”. The similarities to Williamson are evident, but so are the differences. The cruder physics errors are gone and an impressive body of research into occult history and learnt observations about the implausibilities inherent in existing ranges of UFO experience make this a far meatier meal to chew on. (6)

Our Haunted Planet (1971) is a frivolous interlude which reads like someone tossed a couple of dozen works of Forteana in a blender. Mixing lost civilisations, occult conspiracies, Velikovsky, disappearances, UFO contacts and such we get a speculative history of ultraterrestrials back to the caveman. It retains the view that ultraterrestrials involve hallucinogenic mind trips guided by a force which manipulates the electrical circuits of the brain. (7)

The Mothman Prophecies (1975) is ufology’s most intensely driven narrative. Its ambiance has the mechanistic supernatural evocations of Lovecraft’s finest horror. We learn there is a fearful gamesmanship to the intelligence which scripts the UFO drama. Once a belief of any sort arises, this cosmic mechanism supports and escalates it. The believer is played for the fool when the higher expectations for salvation are crushed. The force of events manifests a tangible paranoia. Keel captures this sense of malevolent forces moving the flow of events very convincingly. Psychics and sensitives throughout the centuries parrot monotonously similar phrases like a skipping phonograph needle. Beams of light re-program people to become Belief robots like Saul/Paul at the dawn of Christianity. He adopts the credo of the Enlightenment: “Belief is the enemy”. (8)

The Eighth Tower (1975) is the culmination of Keel’s vision. Religious visions are more fully incorporated into the tapestry of reprogramming games. Love is twisted into a negative force by robotic Jesus freaks and the fanatics of all faiths. Their ruthless, destructive acts reveal the controlling intelligence as emotionally unstrung and stupid. It distorts reality in whimsical, crazy ways such as to suggest: “God may be a crackpot”. (9)

He expands the control motif around a cosmological construct called the superspectrum. This is a hypothetical spectrum of energies which purportedly is extra-dimensional and outside the normal range of the electromagnetic spectrum. It directs unaccountable coincidences into human lives and subtly influences the direction of history. It tried to seduce him in the directions of his research. Keel even confessed an ability to control other people’s minds on a modest scale. In a whimsical moment he speculates that all these UFO and Bigfoot apparitions are the senile end products of a dying supercomputer that once ran the world in deep antiquity. Now it idles away the time tormenting people with its madness. (10)
In a feverish finale Keel inverts his theoretical edifice. The reprogramming energies come through a black hole from another time. The superspectral God becomes a switchboard and the only real reality. We are the delusion, it is the everything of reality. While this fast-forward into the cosmic identity stage of paranoia was perhaps obligatory, it is a letdown from the earlier and wiser panegyrics against unreflective belief. I feared Keel’s reprogram button had been flipped. (11)
Control motifs also emerge as a central concept of Jacques Vallee’s writings. They have an interesting history which has roots in his early science fiction. Subspace opens with strange appearances in the sky involving blue spirogires and black crosses, a 21st century UFO phenomenon, which impressed images of catastrophe in the minds of those contacted by it. It transpires that the spirogires hail from the star Spica and involve intelligences who are part of subspace. This is a region of pure thought inhabited with the creations and monsters of the imagination. Some dark thoughts seek to destroy the linear continuum universe. Thanks to thoughts implanted into the unconscious of a protagonist by Erg-Aonians who inhabit this larger universe, a weapon is brought into subspace. It’s a cricket. The vibrations shatter the matrix in which the dark thoughts dwell. (12)

The Dark Satellite opens with the invasion of our galaxy by a nonbeing something which encircles it and causes all the races within it to become transfixed artists. The story turns to 22nd century Paris which is the home of a great computer which oversees a utopia spanning the solar system. It is free of nation states and war. A little cylinder is found one day in the computer’s imagination and threatens its breakdown. The cylinder causes a strange death of a human and people begin speculating that the cylinder was created by the machine at the promptings of machines from elsewhere with incomprehensible designs upon humanity or the great machine – an influencing machine within an influencing machine as it were.

To ferret out the mystery, technicians enter the computer through another plane of reality. Adjusting its circuits they accidentally set it on fire. Destruction of the computer removes Earth’s protection from an unsuspected mind ray. People are hypnotised into building space ships which form a mass exodus into the sun. An iconoclastic mad-scientist type guy named Xarius Chimero protects one of the technicians from mind control and takes him on a journey to the centre of the universe, distributing artistic sculptures as they go. At the centre, the two see into the multi-faceted sombre satellite of title. It is a reality seeking to destroy our reality. Xarius Chimero presses a button and the dark satellite slides from sight. The button activated the statues which turned into young girls. Laughing, primitive girls will repopulate the galaxy and a sublime new order transcending the now obliterated scientific utopia has been created. (13)

As a ufologist, Vallee makes no use of the control motif in his first analyses of the UFO phenomenon, Anatomy of a Phenomenon (1965) and Challenge to Science (1966). In Passport to Magonia (1969) he sees disturbing resemblances between the UFO phenomenon and the fairy faith of earlier centuries, implying a shared mythic basis. He entertains the possibility that superior intelligences are projecting creations into our environment as a pure form of art seeking our puzzlement or as a way to teach us some concept. He immediately backs away from the notion with an admission it hasn’t a scientific leg to stand on and offers an apology for showing “how quickly one could be carried into pure fantasy”. (14)

This “pure fantasy” becomes a major theory in The Invisible College (1975). Vallee compiled a plot of UFO waves through history and their irregular spacing suggested to Fred Beckman and Dr Price-Williams of UCLA a schedule of reinforcement designed to permanently instill a behaviour. Vallee developed from this observation the theory that UFOs represent a control system of an undetermined nature. It could simply involve social psychology, but it could also be the imposition of a supernatural will seeking to confuse us and mould us and our civilisation by targeting our collective unconscious with a physical and psychic technology. The book closes on a chilling soliloquy wherein Vallee ponders stepping outside the maze of the control system. Would he find some Lovecraftian horror, some well-meaning social engineers, or “the maddening simplicity of unattended clockwork?” (15)

Unfortunately the theory collapses with an elementary fact. UFO experiences usually involve negative emotions and would yield aversive behaviour. They would not reinforce learning. No value attaches irregular stimuli in the converse hypothesis of an unlearning curve. (16)

Messengers of Deception (1979) accepts as a given that control in the form of a machinery of mass manipulation exists behind the UFO phenomenon. Physical devices are being used to affect human consciousness and distort reality. Images and scenes are fabricated to advance belief in an impending intervention from space. The operators could be either a high-level international military group furthering some political goal or some occult group which stumbled on a psychotronic technology in their studies of astral travel or space-time distortions. (17)

Dimensions (1988) reprints material from the prior books and would not bear mentioning except for a silent concession that Vallee changed his mind about the external teacher idea being a pure fantasy. Those lines were excised. (18) Confrontations (1990) contains a brief suggestion that UFOs are windows into another reality possessing symbolic meaning. Like dreams they can be ignored or shape our lives in inscrutable ways. There is enough ambiguity to regard the notion as either a banality or a marginal idea of reference. (19) Revelations (1991) argues some UFO cases are covert experiments in the manipulation of belief systems, but here the processes are conventional ones of lies and rhetoric. The control system theory is reaffirmed in “Forbidden Science” (1992) with no further elaborations.

Vallee’s affirmations and denials about the reality of UFOs have much the same puzzling flavour as deist affirmations and denials about the reality and nature of God 

Brooks Alexander has characterised Vallee’s concepts as “equal parts of Carl Jung and Report from Iron Mountain". (20) This is inadvertently scurrilous since the latter was a confessed hoax by political satirist Leonard Lewin. An equal case could be made for roots in the writings of French or English deists who had analogous notions about how stimulating the emotions of wonderment and advancing religious superstitions could be used to manipulate the masses. Not having behaviourist metaphors available they spoke of a “psychopathology of enthusiasm” evident in individual fanatics and collective frenzies.

Vallee’s affirmations and denials about the reality of UFOs have much the same puzzling flavour as deist affirmations and denials about the reality and nature of God. (21) Personally I think the similarities bespeak shared intellectual predilections and not an exposure to deist literature. Frankly, he missed using some of their better material if he did read them. Before leaving Vallee, I would like to add one small irony. Vallee won the Jules Verne prize for his 1961 work Subspace. This could be viewed by behaviourists as powerful reinforcement and could be said to explain his repeated return to ideas of mental control in his efforts. He madly keeps pressing the lever hoping that big pellet will drop down again. He never got out of the maze.

Like Keel and Vallee, D. Scott Rogo’s control theories extend through several books. This Haunted Universe (1977) was his first foray across the boundary of psychic research into ufology. His first impulse was to ascribe the psychic components of UFO events to a mysterious force within ourselves, but certain experiences prove to him that evil can exist independently of the mind. The motif suddenly emerges: “UFOs demonstrate that our world plays host to a force that seeks to mystify us”. (22) The usage here is brief, but significantly the external influence arises to imply humans are blameless for evil and mystification.

He teams up with Jerome Clark for Earth’s Secret Inhabitants (1979). Both were facing the psychological aspects of strange UFO cases and, so, concocted a notion they termed The Phenomenon. It is a force or intelligence somewhere in the universe which provides the evidence we seek for whatever it is we want to believe in deeply. It does this by beaming projections into our world. They aver it may be an automatic natural mechanism that acts “as routinely as a clock”. (23) Presumably unattended.

Clark fell out of sympathy with control systems and collective unconscious concepts as his thinking matured, but Rogo pressed forward with elaborations. (24) In Miracles Rogo leaps ahead into the cosmic identity stage and redefines God. The supermind becomes a spiritualistic realm which translates all religious, shamanistic and mythic ideologies egalitarianly into literal spiritual reality. The Phenomenon might be the source of the universe’s creative energy and endows those properly attuned to it with great psychic powers. This “God”, however, would have to satisfy so many contradictory requests and opposing theologies that it would wind up an incoherent mush. (25)

Looking back on his theory in 1988, Rogo considered it misunderstood and viable. Independent creation of a similar theory by Jenny Randles suggested to him he had probably been on the right track. Alternatively, they both may have read Vallee and a standard text on dreams. (26)

Besides our Top Three Control Theorists, there were a significant number of ufologists who offered variants on our theme. Some are well-known folks joining the bandwagon; some are less well known but have a different take. There is a steady stream of these ideas between 1974 and 1980. We will approach this set chronologically rather than by status.

1974: Charles Bowen, editorialising in Flying Saucer Review, asks if some or all UFO images and entities are projected into the mind by controlling powers and/or UFOs. The meaningless gibberish in messages implies more than human beings being treated as playthings; it may be an attempt to influence or remotely control humans. He cites C. Maxwell Cade as suggesting ultra-high frequency radar beams can induce images in the brain. (27) Stanton Friedman suggests ufonauts could broadcast telepathic signals that would make UFOs appear to disappear. A microwave beam could jumble vision by means of a scotoma. (28)

1975: Allen H. Greenfield’s Alternative Reality Theory accepts the premise that UFOs are “manipulating human history to its own ends”. (29) Timothy Green Beckley cites the cases of Paul Clark, Dr Morales, and Hans Lauritzen to argue higher powers are systematically guiding human destiny and the course of human civilisation, if not by physical force, then by direct manipulation of human minds. (30) Joan Whritenour warns extraterrestrials engage in “mental rape” by the use of strobe-light-type machines which cause instant hypnosis. (31)

1976: Brad Steiger suggests UFOs act as cosmic tutors using space beams. (32) They also influence the mind telepathically to project three-dimensional images. The purpose is “too staggeringly complicated for our desperately throbbing brains to deal with at this moment in time and space”. (33)

1977: The Lorenzens accept that thoughts can be taken or absorbed. Abductees may have been programmed with false information to mislead us. (34) James Harder terms this a multi-level cover-up. Abductees are made to look like fools by relaying messages filled with garbage dredged up from their memories and imaginations at the behest of post-hypnotic suggestions. (35) Robert Anton Wilson warns higher beings may be playing head games with humans and using “mindfucking” technology. (36)

Michael Persinger and Gyslaine LaFreniere set forth a variant of the supermind termed .Geopsyche'. A critical mass of believers form a matrix which is energised by intense geophysical forces of nature. Epidemics of luminous signs, anomalous beasties of the nether realm, unusual kinetic displays, and religious manias forbode earthquakes. A disturbing corollary to this is the irrelevance and expendability of the individual under the sway of activated death instincts and unconscious archetypal forces. (37)

1978: Gordon Creighton fears UFOs influence not only individuals, but governments and whole nations. (38) Art Gatti gravitates to the idea UFOs are mind parasites or occult manipulation thought forms. (39) Brad Steiger suggests aliens may have programmed humans as automatons and judas goats to lead their fellow humans into servitude. (40)

1979: Leo Sprinkle offers the “Cosmic Consciousness Conditioning Hypothesis” which includes the premise that UFO intelligences choose witnesses for illumination. (41) James E. Frazier suggests they implant knowledge in contactees and monitor them by tensor beam communication and repeat abductions. (42) Raymond Fowler believes Betty Andreasson is primed subconsciously with extraterrestrial knowledge. She feels like a “loaded bomb”. They may be interstellar missionaries for conditioning in preparation for Overt Contact. (43) Pierre Guerin speculates that the repetitious character of UFOs is meant to create “a pernicious and stupefying wave of religious credulity”. (44) Stefan T. Possony suggests Russia can create semi-stable UFOs via colliding pulsed microwave beams and thus yield UFO crazes and mass anxiety neurosis. (45)

1980: Frank Salisbury guesses UFO sightings “are staged to manipulate us in preparation for contact, for directing our evolution, or to excite the gullible in order to turn off those who are not gullible. (46) Colin Wilson is inspired by Keel to theorise that the spirit world vampirises energy from humans to achieve temporary material existence. (47) J.N. Williamson views UFO confrontations as a liberating of the right hemisphere of the brain. Did you ever notice how the brain sort of looks like a UFO? (48)

1981: Raymond Fowler suggests ufonauts can put people in suspended animation and control their actions. (49)

1982: Jenny Randles argues that consciousness should logically be targeted as the medium of interstellar communication. Their consciousness will act as a radio telescope to beam messages into the complex electro-chemical computer of the human mind by selecting ideograms out of the subject’s memory to form a holographic playlet. Amnesia results from consciousness being shunted aside as the message program switches the mind to the right frequency. Earth mystery sites act as aerials to pull in the messages thus explaining certain clusterings. (50) Hello Tralfamadore? Paul Devereux revamps the Geopsyche concept with the Earth Mother doing some planetary dreaming and shaping earthlight ectoplasm into UFO displays.

The control motif is harder to find for the next few years. Budd Hopkins flirts with such notions in his books, but we don’t really see a clear advocacy until the premier issue of his Intruders Foundation Bulletin. Hopkins notes that in abduction experiences the victim never seems embarrassed about nudity. This observation eliminates all blanket psychological explanations of abductions and provides powerful evidence of an “externally caused trance-like experience” endemic to the alien abduction process. (51)


Hopkins notes that in abduction experiences the victim never seems embarrassed about nudity

I remember after reading this I leaned over slightly and slipped my copy of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams out of the book-case and in less than a minute was reading: “Dreams of being naked or insufficiently dressed in the presence of strangers sometimes occur with the additional feature of there being a complete absence of any such feeling as shame on the dreamer’s part”. (52) I grant nobody is obliged to be up on Freud any more, but where are those psychologists we are supposed to be so impressed with helping out? Hopkins’s use of an influencing machine fantasy to defend the blameless normality of the abduction experience and to disown its bizarre dream-logic aspects to the aliens is standard behaviour.

Randles offers some elaborations on her theory in Abduction and Mind Monsters with Sheldrake’s M-field thrown in to update the semblance of scientific patter. David Barclay’s revamping of Keel uses cyber-speak in its patter with Virtual Reality used to make the universe into “God’s Little Arcade”. Kenneth Ring offers a New Age variant involving Mind-at-Large. (53)

Martin Cannon’s Controllers can be viewed as a nineties variant of Leon Davidson’s CIA hoax theory or, more properly, a return of the zombie assassin, a recurrent spy fiction plot gimmick. Strieber’s talk of ELF waves as an external control or perception implant modality involving either advanced technology or the Earth itself is an evident recall of research he did for his own spy novel Black Magic. The third volume of the Matrix series purportedly delves into the chemical and biological manipulation of humans but I was unwilling to waste 55 dollars to confirm it. (54)

Ideas of reference and influencing machine fantasies are continuing to appear but seem to be decreasing in prominence and frequency. The decrease probably had little to do with any criticism of this style of theorising, though John Michell feared the basic idea was over fanciful and suffered from the flaw that it imputes human ambitions for power to a race presumably superior to, and certainly different from, ourselves. (55) Dominance behaviour has a genetic logic which should make it a common adaptation all over. But, in that case, why don’t they dominate in the usual way? Take over, blow us away, and leave a few to kick around and laugh at.

Ernst Berger has lamented control notions signalled a new age of darkness being foisted by UFO spiritists. The fear of external manipulators seemed to him “a projection of their own fearful way of thinking into our restless reality”. (56) Succinct and valid. Kevin McClure’s review of control motifs in our Top Three correctly understood there were ways “to offload responsibility” to more deeply explore anomalous phenomena. Such study he felt would lead us to conclude there was “some recurrent quirk in human nature” beneath belief in UFOs and anomalous phenomena. Exactly, but who wants to say their friends and themselves are quirky? Expressing a distaste for the proliferation of conspiracies and the elevation of paranoia in our top theorists, he proclaims it isn’t cricket to evade our responsibilities to be objective by blaming external agents for our mistakes, intentions, decisions, and achievements. (57)

Daniel Cohen places notions of alien control in a wider historical context with ancient fears like those that fuelled witchcraft belief. The 17th century had Cotton Mather’s The Wonders of the Invisible World and we have Keel’s invisible world of ultraterrestrials.

The idea of a historical continuum can be taken much farther. Angelologists Henry Lawrence and Isaac Ambrose in the 17th century believed angels engaged in a type of secret suggesting which depended on the ability to handle the humours and control man’s fancies internally by tempting, troubling, inspiring, or soothing him. As early as the 4th century, the theologians Athanasius and Evagrius of Pontus expressed belief in the idea that the Devil and his demons sometimes send dreams and hallucinations to frighten monks. Though they cannot enter souls, they could, by working on the brain, suggest images, fantasies, fears and temptations. (58) Beliefs in spirit possession extend similar ideas into unchronicled antiquity.

Hilary Evans has added a few common-sense objections to these control theories. Why, with all of humanity to choose from, have the claims of influence involved low-status individuals? Why not heads of state, financiers, scientists, educators, movie stars; i.e. people with true power and influence to get things done and spread one’s messages? Why, with such powers at their disposal, do they employ them in haphazard, ambiguous ways like puzzling UFO visions? If you had an influencing machine, would you use it for such things as abduction experiences or would you have a millionaire shower you with gifts, make your enemies grovel at your feet, and mess with minds of leaders in the service of world peace and prosperity? UFO experiences make more sense as idiosyncratic psychodramas. (59) If abductees are normal people, that may be the most damning fact of all, that there are no powerful aliens behind the UFO phenomenon.

Ufologists had found themselves with a dilemma: some cases have features which cannot be true, but the claimants are sincere and honest. They can’t be crazy. Influencing machines resolve the dilemma

Ufologists have always asserted that UFO reporters are sincere and trustworthy observers and therefore we should believe them. Flying saucers are real – QED. Take away that syllogism and ufologists are pretty much out of a job. As the years have passed, ufologists had increasingly found themselves with a dilemma. Some high-strangeness cases have features which cannot be true, but the claimants are sincere and honest: they can’t be crazy. Influencing machines resolve the dilemma. It’s not their fault they are reporting these things; aliens, the CIA, the superspectrum, the Phenomenon, occultists are to blame. The psychology is simple and transparent because the logic is easily recognised. It is the logic of madness.

Specifically the logic of paranoia in the projection stage is what we have here. Nestled between the hypochondria of the sixties and the conspiracies of the late eighties and early nineties, they form a natural stage in the history of ufology. These control theories are yet another indictment of ufology’s blindness. Man’s fancies will never be controlled by science.

There is a dramatic appeal to these concepts which makes the UFO literature an intriguing place to dwell in and that is a plus I can’t gainsay with conviction for I doubt I ever read ufology for its scientific value in the first place. I enjoyed it for much the same reasons I loved those old fifties alien invasion movies: the wonder of the new, the thrill of the Other, and a dark ambience. They were a bit silly, too, when you bothered to think about them, but you accept you are supposed to suspend disbelief and reason to appreciate them. I wonder at times if ufology doesn’t ask to be judged by the same standards as these movies. The canons of science don’t really seem to be an appropriate gauge since UFO belief is hopelessly wrapped up in mythological fascinations. Control theories seem benign for the most part, letting people indulge in fantasies and psychological games without heavy accusations of abnormality. The cost of autonomy lost or some measure of estrangement from reality and humanity is probably not felt as tragic. Free will carries responsibilities we may prefer to do without. Better a puppet than a fool.

  1. Williamson, George Hunt; Other Tongues – Other Flesh, Neville Spearman, 1965. De Camp, L. Sprague; The Ragged Edge of Science, Owlswick, 1980, 106-108. “Theosophy” in Hastings, James (ed.); Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 12, Charles Scribners, 304-315
  2. Williamson, George Hunt and McCoy, John; UFOs Confidential, authors, 1958
  3. Davidson, Leon; “Why I believe in Adamski”, Flying Saucers, February 1954
  4. Michell, John; Flying Saucer Vision, Abacus, 1977, 24, 64-65, 178
  5. Lorenzen, Jim and Coral: UFOs Over the Americas, Signet, 1968, 148, 206-207
  6. Keel, John; Why UFOs?, Manor, 1976
  7. Keel, John; Our Haunted Planet, Fawcett, 1971, 182.
  8. Keel, John; The Mothman Prophecies, Signet, 1976
  9. Keel, John; The Eighth Tower, Signet, 1977
  10. Ibid., 188
  11. Ibid., 202
  12. Seriel, Jerome; Sub-Espace, Librairie des Champs Elysees, 1975
  13. Seriel, Jerome; Le Satellite Sombre, Denoei, 1962.
  14. Vallee, Jacques; Anatomy of a Phenomenon, Ace, 1966. Vallee, Jacques and Janine; The UFO Enigma, Ballantine, 1977. Vallee, Jacques; Passport to Magonia, Henry Regnery, 1969, 160.
  15. Vallee, Jacques; The Invisible College: What a Group of Scientists Has Discovered About UFO Influences on the Human Race, Dutton, 1975.
  16. Ruch, Floyd L. and Zimbardo, Philip G.; Psychology and Life, Scott, Foresman & Co., 1971
  17. Vallee, Jacques; Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults, And/Or, 1979.
  18. Vallee, J.; Dimensions, Contemporary, 1988, 165.
  19. Vallee, J.; Confrontations, Ballantine, 1990, 131.
  20. Alexander, Brooks; “Machines made of shadows”, SCP Journal, 17, 1-2 (1992), 9.
  21. Manuel, Frank E.; The Changing of the Gods, Brown University Press, 1983.
  22. Rogo, D. Scott; This Haunted Universe, Signet, 1977, 146.
  23. Rogo, D. Scott and Clark, Jerome; Earth’s Secret Inhabitants, Tempo, 1979, 200.
  24. Clark, Jerome; letter, 14 November 1986.
  25. Rogo, D. Scott; Miracles: A Parascientific Inquiry into Wondrous Phenomena, Dial, 1982.
  26. Rogo, D. Scott; Tujunga Canyon Contacts, Signet, 1989, 315-321.
  27. Bowen, Charles (ed.); Encounter Cases from Flying Saucer Review, Signet, 1977, 216.
  28. Friedman, Stanton; “Flying Saucers and Physics”, MUFON Symposium 1974, UFORI, 13.
  29. Greenfield, Allen H.; “Tenets of Alternate Reality Theory”, in Best of Saucer Scoop, June 1975.
  30. Beckley, Timothy Green; “Mind manipulation – the new UFO terror tactic”, UFO Report, Winter 1975, 31-33, 56-65.
  31. “Psywar 1″, Best of Saucer Scoop, June 1975.
  32. Steiger, B.; Gods of Aquarius, Harcourt, Brace, 1976.
  33. Steiger, B.; Project Blue Book, Ballantine, 1976, 343.
  34. Lorenzen, C. and J.; Abducted! Confrontations with Beings from Outer Space, Berkley Medallion, 1977.
  35. Clark, Jerome; “UFO Report interviews Dr James Harder”, UFO Report, December 1977.
  36. Wilson, Robert Anton; Cosmic Trigger, Pocket, 1977, 25, 86.
  37. Persinger, M. and LaFreniere, G.; Space-Time Transients and Unusual Events, Nelson-Hall, 1977.
  38. Bond, Bryce; “Interdimensional UFOs”, UFO Report, November 1978.
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