Lecture #1: Introduction

May 12 2019

A civilian-based field of study eventually called “ufology” came to life just a few years after the press highly profiled ufo sightings in coverage that began in June 1947.

Aside from individual academics and scientists who participated as investigators and expert consultants to these groups and efforts focused on ufo studies, this field of study largely stayed outside the walls of academic organizations.

The UFO subject is a popular one in entertainment mediums and today even seems to have provided new story foundations (for a small segment of the population) that spawn newly forming religious and political expressions that reflect fears and hopes.

While popular as easy entertainment and fodder for a small percent of us to create new forms of religious expressions, the public-at-large basicly ignores this issue.  Even now, as of May 2019, after big ufo-related news has been breaking thru the pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico since late 2017.

While we all still appear to be generally ignoring this subject except when enjoying some exciting entertainment presentation, a majority of Americans (54%) feel UFOs are real and a plurality (45%) feel that extraterrestrial visitation is, and has been, happening here.

In one of its long history background articles in 2018, the New York Times described the work of a CIA- commissioned science advisory panel in early 1953.  The dramatic UFO events in June 1952 drew major public attention and created great unease which the government would covertly address by using entertainment and press contacts to help instill a societal atmosphere of ridicule and denial around the subject.

Today, the constraints on our addressing this as a society could be a result of very dramatic human-based stories simply oberwhelming our attention.

The main focus in this course of study will be on the very small percentage of reported ufo sightings and encounters that remain truely puzzling despite a wealth of documentation available to flesh out a picture of what happened in a concrete sense, but without the necessary understanding of the context and meaning.

Of course attention will ne directed to misidentifications, hoaxes and other factors that cloud the picture.

Basicly, we dont know what is going on here BUT we can discern some hints of answers from suggestive clues coming from many cases.

The poll numbers cited above are from the 2015 IPSOS survey and basicly represent the leading impression people have today when looking at ufo reports: these events suggest extraterrestrial visitation.

Just a couple of months after the ufo subject garnered widespread public attention in June 1947, Gallup conducted a poll that asked “what do you think these saucers are?”.  The ET visitation hypothesis didnt even get a 1% response.  Instead:

33%, don’t know

29%, imagination, optical illusion, mirage, etc

10%, hoax

15%, US secret weapon

3%, weather forecasting devices

1%, Russian secret weapon

9%, other explanations

Decades later, several hypotheses are commonly suggested by the small number of people devoting significant attention to this subject.  The extraterrestrial visitation hypothesis seems to have the most adherents but over the years several others have gained a foothold in the so called “ufo community” of “ufologists” (the latter a loose term for an uncredentialed field of study).

Beginning in the 1960s, people started theorizing about a “paranormal/occult” basis for ufo events.  Extraterrestrials were not involved; instead the beings behind it all are “ultraterrestrials”, inhabitants of unseen-by-us dimensions.

Throughout this course of studies we will look at features in ufo reports that have caused people to consider this type of explanation.  The terms “high strangeness” and “oz factor” have been applied to reported observations of seemingly impossible, science fictionish things….like alien beings going through solid objects (and able to bring us through also), or being able to become instantly invisible, or commonly communicating telepathically and so much more.

We have seen over the years and quite recently people asserting precise types of ultraterrestrials as the responsible party for ufo events.  When the news came out in December 2017 about the small Pentagon UFO program, Harry Reid and others reported that there was resistance within parts of the pentagon and cia to even addressing ufo events because demons are behind them and giving it attention draws them in even further.

In the past, figures like Billy Graham have proposed angels are involved.  An interesting and revealing encounter of 60 Zimbabwe school kids in 1994 with beings associated with a landed craft also shows signs of cultural conditioned projections impacting regard of what happened.  While most of the children felt the beings were extraterrestrial, some of the more religion-oriented felt they had encountered demons.  Interesteringly, famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz told the BBC (which was rapidly on scene following this event) that the kids encountered angels not ETs.

Another hypothesis that people propose is that the beings encountered in ufo events represent species who have unknown to sapiens been developing covertly on this planet.

It is true that the extensive cataloguing of close encounter cases of the 3rd and 4th type reveals that most beings encountered are humanoid with quite a few very human-like beings noted (many with distinct differences in features but some who could pass for sapiens).

Another frequently voiced hypothesis identifies time travelers from the future as the source of ufo events.

The hypothesis that is likely the one most asserted as an ETH alternative  by people in general is that ufos represent secret technological development by one or more of the major nations.

A popular variation of the above idea proposes that ufos are a product of secret Nazi development that started during the 3rd Reich and continued beyond thru a powerful cabal operating in the shadows.

Being such a complex issue and requiring deep wading into the data with reliance on a multi-disciplinary approach, I have tried to organize an outline that could help contribute to a development of a course of study offered by academic institutions:

Contextual and Comparative Examination and a Pre-20th Century Historical Survey 

~~~Basic survey of astronomy, physics, chemistry, genetics, anthropology, world history, sociology, psychology, and technology developmental history.

~~~Signs of unidentified and unusual aerial phenomena indicated in primary historical records pre 20th century (openly published or private like letters, church records, ship captain logs, etc) and including artistic visual representations going back 10s of thousands of years.

~~~Comparative analysis of contemporary ufo encounter reports with the folklore and mythology of other times and cultures.  Examine the stories of endogenous peoples encountering otherworldly interventions and interactions.  Survey of “ancient aliens” claims and possible supporting evidence.  Survey of the work of contemporary academics in religious studies who have looked at visionary and paranormal religious phenomenon in comparison to ufo events reported. (Jeffrey Kripal, David Gordon White, Diana Walsh Pasulka, Thomas Bullard, etc)

~~~Specific cases pre 20th Century of close encounters of the first through fourth type.  Up through the airship sightings of the late 19th century.

~~~The “cosmic pluralism” philosophical and literary expressions, beginning with the 6th century BCE debate among Greek philosophers.

~20th Century Emergence of a Mystery 

~~~Survey of close encounter types 1 through 4 prior to World War 2 in the 20th century.

~~~The Foo Fighters of World War 2 and the Ghost Rockets of Europe afterwards.

~~~The emergence of UFOs in 1947 as a public object of attention.

~~~Patterns of Reported Military/UFO encounters.

~~~Advent of attention to close encounters of the third kind.

~~~The emergence of close encounters of the fourth kind cases.

~~~Survey of focus on government coverup issues.

~~~Disinformation and advent of dark side visions.

~~~Delusions and hoaxes in contactee cult movements.

~~~Hypotheses attempting to explain ufos.

~~History of civilian ufo investigations.

~~~Commercial pilot/ufo encounters.

~~~Physical trace evidence.

~~~Survey of case databases developed by civilian-based organizations or individuals.

~~~Addressing the High Strangeness and Oz Factors in UFO Cases.

~~~Survey of the 38 scientific study papers contracted by DOD’s AATIP effort.

The above outline is actually a bit shy of being a comprehensive identification of needed course subjects.  The last item in the above outline itself would involve delving into multiple subject areas related to the mind blowing capacities observed by military personnel during their encounters with ufos.

May clarity dawn.