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Dropping In On Earthlings

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 13:26:17 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 13:26:17 -0500
Subject: Dropping In On Earthlings

Source: Rick Darby's Reflecting Light Blog


Monday, January 29, 2007

Dropping In On Earthlings
by Rick Darby

They seem worn-out, repetitive, even a little pass=E9 by now, like
a fashion trend from another decade. Even the comedians' quips
and the cute newspaper headlines are slightly quaint. I'm
talking about UFO reports.

Nevertheless, they still appear. The Chicago Tribune reported
(registration required) on Jan. 1, 2007, a sighting at O'Hare

"A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare
International Airport for several minutes before bolting through
thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole
in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who
observed the phenomenon. The sighting occurred during daylight,
about 4:30 p.m., just before sunset.

All the witnesses said the object was dark gray and well defined
in the overcast skies. They said the craft, estimated by
different accounts to be 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter, did not
display any lights. Some said it looked like a rotating Frisbee,
while others said it did not appear to be spinning. All agreed
the object made no noise and it was at a fixed position in the
sky, just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck, until shooting off
into the clouds.

'I tend to be scientific by nature, and I don't understand why
aliens would hover over a busy airport,' said a United mechanic
who was in the cockpit of a Boeing 777 that he was taxiing to a
maintenance hangar when he observed the metallic-looking object
above Gate C17. 'But I know that what I saw and what a lot of
other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was
not an [Earth] aircraft,' the mechanic said."

Until recently I had not taken more than a casual interest in
UFO phenomena. While by no means a hard-core skeptic, I was
repelled by the large volume of quite loony stuff written on the
subject - to see what I mean, search Amazon.com under the
heading "UFO" - and the nearly inexhaustible claims and
theories. It is as though UFOs are similar to Rorschach test ink
blots, interpreted according the assumptions and personality
anyone brings to them.

I did have some sympathy with whatever serious and level-headed
UFO researchers might be out there, since it appeared that they
suffered at the hands of the same kind of boneheaded scientists
who have held back the progress of psychical research, a field
of which I am an amateur devotee. These are the scientists who
won't look at evidence if it contradicts their view of
fundamental natural laws and what they "know" can and can't be.
Robert A. Heinlein compared them to the yokel who saw a
rhinocerous for the first time and said, "There ain't no such

Still, I figured I didn't have time to read a dozen books to get
my bearings and work out which UFO researchers might be credible
and what the evidence suggested. But by luck, synchronicity,
mysterious plan or what you will, I happened to run across a
copy of Uninvited Guests, by Richard Hall, at a library book
sale. The subtitle ("A Documented History of UFO Sightings,
Alien Encounters and Coverups") wasn't entirely promising -
conspiracy theories are meat and potatoes to UFO buffs - but I
glanced through it anyway. The tone of the writing impressed me
as sane, and a glance at the author's bio note told me he'd
played major roles in several of the most respected military-
sponsored and civilian UFO studies, including the famous
National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). So
I spent a buck on the book in the hope that this might be the
key to the subject that I had been looking for.

Uninvited Guests was published in 1988. Hall has more recently
updated it with The UFO Evidence, although it appears from the
Amazon.com reviews that he has not basically changed his
outlook. Hall strikes me as the right man for the job of
collecting and analyzing the bizarre, and often disturbing,
evidence of UFO encounters, as well as such alleged phenomena as
seeing or being abducted by extraterrestrials. He acknowledges
that (as with many psychical phenomena) there is no absolute
proof of UFOs or aliens. He agrees that many claimed sightings
are the product of unusual natural phenomena or deranged minds.

But - again as in psychical research - unless you believe that
hundreds of psychologically normal, not overimaginative and
responsible people all over the world are involved in a
pointless hoax or were hallucinating for no known reason, they
have experienced UFOs.

Hall considers a large number of anecdotes, including stories
about bodies of aliens from crashed UFOs kept secretly at
military bases. (He's agnostic on that one - there are a few
seemingly credible witnesses in the files, but he shows that a
video circulated among "saucer" buffs of a supposed alien
autopsy is a fraud.) There are discussions of many theories
about the nature of UFOs, including such "sophisticated" ones as
Carl Jung's that UFOs are some sort of mass projection of
archetypes in a contemporary form, or that they are visitors
from the past, the future, or a parallel universe. Time travel
hypotheses involve well known paradoxes, and Hall quite
reasonably points out that to claim UFOs as tourists from
"another dimension" or "parallel universe" is logically and
scientifically meaningless.

Hall believes that, taking the evidence as a whole into account,
the extraterrestrial hypothesis (which UFO researchers
abbreviate ETH) is the most likely. He isn't dogmatic about it;
it's just that after more than 20 years (at the time of writing)
of direct involvement in the subject, checking documentation and
reading eyewitness interviews conducted by people known to him
to be of sound mind, every other theory requires assumptions
that are even harder to swallow than the ETH.

If you are curious about UFO phenomena, but lack the time or
inclination for an in-depth study, here are some of the
tentative conclusions, observations, and surmises that Hall's
book leads to:

1. "Flying saucers" are only one configuration of observed UFO.
Most are round (horizontally) and relatively flat (vertically),
often with a dome on the top or bottom, sometimes with windows
or "portholes" in the dome; but others appear elongated. Some
are described as spinning. Color is often silver (matte or
reflective), sometimes gray. Colored lights are often reported
on the object, and sometimes beams of light emerge from it.
Descriptions of size vary widely, from a few feet to hundreds of

2. They maneuver at fantastic trajectories that seem to defy the
known laws of physics, and at speeds from hovering to several
thousand mph. They may be seen at any altitude but a surprising
(to me) number appear near or occasionally at ground level. They
play "cat-and-mouse" games, traveling over, in front of, or
behind cars or aircraft, often quite close.

3. They are associated with disturbances in electromagnetic
fields. In the vicinity of UFOs, engines and electrical
equipment frequently stop, then resume when the UFO leaves.

4. Human viewers or experiencers sometimes, though not always,
exhibit psychological or physical symptoms afterward.

5. There have been periods of heavy UFO activity interrupted by
relative lulls. Sightings go back at least a hundred years, or
much longer depending on what evidence you accept, but they
started in earnest post-World War II. At first, they just
appeared in the sky; then (roughly, in the '60s) began to
initiate "close encounters"; later, in the '70s, reports of
appearances of aliens and abductions started coming to the fore.
In recent years, there have been much-publicized cases of people
remembering being probed and studied aboard spaceships, recalled
under hypnosis.

6. "Aliens" are often described as little, though not green, men
(and sometimes women). They, too, seem to vary considerably in
physiology. "Humanoid" is an often-used term. Although most
reports speak of creatures only three or four feet high, there
are a few reported giants.

What on earth (or not of the earth) are we to make of all this?

Obviously, if UFOs are interplanetary craft, there are many
kinds. It also appears that the extraterrestrials, if such they
are, are of different species or races.

Why are they here? Their behavior suggests that they are
studying us; their motives can hardly be guessed because we
don't know anything about their psychology or culture. It is
possibly significant that while people who encounter UFOs,
particularly those who say they have seen "aliens," are often
scared out of their wits, there is little evidence of any
overtly hostile activity on the intruders' part. While the ETs
have technology far in advance of our own, Hall suspects they
are not omniscient. (If they were, why would they need to study
humans?) He thinks it possible that even some of the terrifying
examinations and occasional damage to equipment might be the
result of ignorance or clumsiness ("Oops, that needle in the
navel was not supposed to hurt"; "that plane got too close and
we didn't mean to damage it").

Hall (and many other UFO researchers) speculate that the UFO
crews are preparing us for an eventual meeting, getting us used
to the idea gradually so we won't be totally shocked and
panicked when the time comes. The evidence so far does indicate
that with the astonishing technology available to them, these
ETs could clean our clocks with no trouble at all if some War of
the Worlds type of invasion was on their minds, and they

All this, mind you, is speculation. But as speculation goes,
Hall's seems to be as sensible as any, and a lot more so than
much of it about this perplexing subject.

[Thanks to Stuart Miller of http://uforeview.net/ for the lead]

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