Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why The Contactees Still Matter

There has always been an undertone of spirituality where the UFO phenomenon is concerned, particularly the extraterrestrial "space brother" explanation from the 1950s.

Here's an example from 1957:

In many ways, it's easy to dismiss this kind of thing completely, and most people today do exactly that. To do so is a mistake, however, for two reasons.

First, as my good friends Nick Redfern and Greg Bishop have stated over the years, the contactees might not have anything to tell us about the true nature of the UFO phenomenon (more on that below), but they do have a lot to tell us about the some of the people who are attracted to the subject. The same dynamics that were at work in the 1950s remain at work today - in a different guise perhaps, but still there nonetheless. The "sociology of the saucers" is a fascinating, and overlooked, aspect of modern American cultural history.

Second, and more important, is the possibility that at least some of the contactees had an actual encounter with a non-human intelligence. Sure, there were hoaxers, like George Adamski, but those types permeate all forms of human activity (Bernie Madoff pops to mind, in a different and more modern context). Perhaps nowhere has this been more true than in humanity's quest for "spiritual" knowledge (19th century America was rife with religious charlatans, for example), which in many respects lies at the core of people's fascination with the UFO subject - that search for "something more". 

To dismiss the experiences of all contactees simply because a number of the better-known ones were con-men is a mistake. They may in fact still have something to teach us about the nature of the UFO phenomenon, if we are willing to look deeper into the experiences as reported, and ponder what they may mean.

Paul Kimball

1 comment:

Terry the Censor said...

What the contactees teach us is that alien contact is much more diverse than the Gray/abduction dogmatists will admit. Anyone on the internet can see the contactees never left us, they've just been ignored by the fearmongers. (Recently I read a catalogue of 205 contact cases; it showed great variety in contact reports, even after the Hill case. See "UFOs and Alien Contact," Appendix I, Bartholomew & Howard, 1998).
David Jacobs, whose PhD must have been in Creative Writing, defines contactee-type encounters out of existence:
1) his alien abductees don't report positive New Age-y contact experiences, therefore, anyone who does report a positive New Age-y contact experience did not really meet aliens (Secret Life, pp. 284, 293)
2) likeways, he says most paranormal experiences -- ghost visitations, out-of-body, angel sightings -- are actually abduction experiences (Secret Life, p 307).