From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 01 Nov 2001 22:53:59 -0500 Fwd Date: Thu, 01 Nov 2001 22:53:59 -0500 Subject: UFO Studies Take Off At MTSU http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=2560808&BRD=1067&PAG=461&dept_id=151180&rfi=6 UFO Studies Take Off At MTSU: Claims Of Alien Encounters Evolve To Fit The Times Jessica Carter Staff Reporter of The Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) On a dark, cloudless night, a man driving down a rural road looks up at the clear sky. Suddenly, a large glowing object emerges among the stars. Although it's hundreds of feet above, the object appears close enough that the man can see details of its construction. It makes no sound as it hurtles across the sky, darting from one place to another impossibly fast and suddenly disappearing. Although many people discount the idea that unidentified flying objects exist, the topic remains a source of intrigue for many, including MTSU English professor Angela Hague. Hague will teach an honors interdisciplinary seminar during the spring semester on 'The UFO Debate'. "I've always had an interest in things paranormal, especially abductions," Hague explains of her curiosity about the topic. "It's similar to near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences ... One seems to be related to the other." The class will study the UFO phenomenon from a variety of perspectives, including a historical overview from 1896 to the present day. Throughout history, Hague says, claims of UFO sightings generally have correlated with political and military pressures around the world. In the 1950s, when the world was in turmoil over tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States, people known as "contactees" came forward to say they had been contacted by beings from Venus and Mars seeking to protect them from nuclear war. Claims of alien encounters were less prevalent in the 1960s and '70s. But in 1987 and 1988, the notion of "grays" coming to Earth once again became popular in media and society, Hague says. That flood of attention to UFO and alien activity "corresponds with the fall of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union," she says. "It's as if somebody has to be coming after you. "My theory is (UFOs became popular) because we had no external enemies." In addition, Hague's students will examine psychological interpretations of UFO sightings and the treatment of aliens in popular culture, including television and film. From 1947 to the present, there have been many UFO sightings that have yet to be explained, Hague says. According to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), more than 10 million American adults claim to have seen what they thought was a UFO. "I think there are UFOs - all that means is they are unidentified flying objects", Hague says. Encounters with aliens have been even more difficult to substantiate, although stories of extraterrestrial experiences range from harmless to horrifying. The image of a typical alien has evolved from a huge monster to a creature with a tiny body, big head and huge eyes. Depictions of aliens in human form, as in the television series 'Third Rock From The Sun' and the new film 'K-PAX', have become increasingly popular in recent years. These "domesticated aliens", as Hague refers to them, reflect people's desire to explain something they don't understand. "They look like us, a lot of the time they act like us," she says. "We want to take something that we don't understand and domesticate it and make it like us... in fact, maybe even better." Hague says the idea that beings other than humans exist somewhere in the universe leads many people to speculate about the differences between 'us' and 'them'. What intrigues most people is "not so much a technological difference, although they are more technologically advanced than us," Hague says. "They are beings with no emotion who exist only in terms of consciousness. "They reflect a refinement of the way we view ourselves without being clogged up with fear and love and other emotions. They are a projection of how we wish we could be sometimes."
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