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  Columnist: Edward Crabtree

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Are UFOs telepathic projections beamed from the stars ?

Posted on Monday, 6 January, 2014 | 4 comments
Columnist: Edward Crabtree

A young man named Philip Freeman drove his girlfriend, Angela, through a wooded part of Surrey, in the South East of England, one November night in 1967. The windows had steamed up so Philip got out to wipe them. He then noticed a smell – a sulphurous stench - all around him. When he got back into the car he saw it.

There was a face which looked through the window on Angela’s side of the car. He described the face as long, white, featureless and luminous. As he drove away he had time to see the entity move to the back of the car. The thing’s body was `bell shaped`. The smell disappeared when they had escaped.

This case, the write up of which was titled `The Spectre of Winterfold` resembles many a tale of ghoulies and goblins – except for the fact that it appeared in The Flying Saucer Review (Volume 14, No1, January – February, 1968).

The High-Strangeness Problem.

When the American investigative journalist Leslie Kean’s new study – UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record – hit the bookstores three years ago, it was greeted with some fanfare. Here at last was a level-headed treatment of this thorny subject. Here was something which, with its parade of detailed reports of unknown aircraft seen at close quarters by military personnel, could be thrown at the sceptics to make them shut up.

The book is, without doubt, an impressive and necessary publication. It, or at least something much like it, might, however, have been written anytime in the last forty odd years. The author’s scope remains limited to Close Encounters of the First (or at most Second) Kind, underpinned with the assumption that UFOs are most likely extraterrestrial space ships. Such an approach needs must exclude the more embarrassing reports, some of which also have been reported by high ranking people. I refer to cases, of the kind showcased above, where people interact with the occupants of UFOs: Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind.

Kean knows that such lurid cases, albeit which are just as widespread, are not likely to help get those in authority take the matter seriously. It is, however, in just such High Strangeness aspects of the phenomenon that a clue to its identity might be sought. Let us consider some more.

Also in Flying Saucer Review we find another spectral encounter which took place a few years later in Albany, Ohio in the county of Athens in the U.S.A. Returning to her trailer home Mary was staggered to see a tall being hovering in front of her. She said that this looked like an armless body draped in a cloth. When this had gone it was replaced by a display of bright lights and a feeling of there being a presence nearby. Later her partner returned and they retired to their cabin. Then some neighbours appeared, and while they talked to her partner outside about some strange lights they had seen, she saw her second entity. She called it an `electric man` and it peered round the door at her. In the subsequent weeks there were UFOs reported in that vicinity (Flying Saucer Review, volume 20 no.5, 1974).

The next case in point is featured in Jerome Clarke’s and Loren Coleman’s farsighted examination of such cases, Creatures of the Outer Edge. This case, which supplies whole panoply of paranormal occurrences, took place in the ominous area of Salem in the Columbiana County, U.S.A.

In the beginning Mrs Allison, with her seven year old son, espied a strange aircraft. It looked like a plane without wings and it spluttered as if it had engine problems. Before the craft flew off, Mrs Allison could even see the pilot who was a khaki clad person of Middle Eastern appearance. Thus far, with its description of a solid machine (albeit with a confusing occupant) this is the sort of sighting that could have made it into Kean’s book, but then the complications begin.

A strange big cat began to make itself known in the environs. Later she spotted an ape-man like creature in the nearby woods. This mad parade was then rounded off with an episode of poltergeist activity. (P-17-19).

The Conjurings.

These kinds of spooky and ambiguous episodes do not just belong to the UFO flaps of the 1970s and 1980s, but seem to have been integral to the phenomenon from the get go. Long before the moniker `flying saucer` went into circulation, the Swedes were talking of `ghost rockets` that haunted their airspace. There is an even longer tradition of `spook lights` which could, in the right cultural circumstances, double up as UFOs. The Northamptonshire nature poet John Clare was well aware of these and wrote about them in the Eighteenth century. More recently they have been something of a draw for tourism in the Mountain Valley of California where they were appeared over a cemetery and were taken, by many to be the souls of the departed ( The National Geographic covered this in 1968).

An unidentified light can be taken as the disembodied soul of the dead and, correspondingly, ghosts can appear in machine form too. The Flying Dutchman is the most celebrated of the ghost ships that plough through the waters of the earth but in The Eye of the Beholder, the Ufologist Joseph Dormer gives another such example. A boy and girl out playing in the British countryside in 1972 watched an anachronistic steam train pass them. It was so real in appearance that it was only later that they learnt that it could not have existed. It is also significant that they seemed to lose a few hours of their lives – a missing time scenario. (UFOs: The Final Answer? p-133 -134).

Lest we think that these are only marginal, eccentric references, let us turn our attention to two classics from the casebook. The Betty and Barney Hill encounter from the U.S.A, is often called the first alien abduction case, but it may not be so unique. Daniel Cohen, in The Encyclopaedia of Ghosts was moved to comment on the likeness of this to an earlier British ghost case. Derek and Norman Ferguson were driving through the night and encountered a host of entities. In fact, encounters whilst driving at night seems to be a subset of experiences that belong to both ghost and UFO cases. [Cohen, 203 -205]

The there is the `British Roswell` - the Rendlesham forest incident which took place near Woodbridge in Suffolk in 1981. This would seem to be a clear `nuts and bolts` scenario involving military employees. Nevertheless when the paranormal investigators Alan Murdie and Robert Halliday trawled back over the local cultural history of that area they found that it has a tradition of `spook lights`. In the Suffolk dialect these are known as `Hobby lanterns`. They found an account of a sighting dated from the 1880s in which one was seen in a hamlet called Sudbourne close to Rendlesham forest. It gave off an intense red glow and appeared and disappeared just as in the better known case. (Fortean Times 204, December 2005). Indeed, Brenda Butler, the local who has done so much to make the case the cause celebre that it is, claims that Rendlesham is an anomalous zone and she has seen Bigfoot like creatures there, among other things. In fact, Woodbridge itself is also the location of one of the most famous poltergeist cases in British history: the Bealing Bells case where the kitchen bells in the house of Major Moor were rung by an invisible agent for 54 days (Haining, P-66).

Those who have looked at the UFO phenomenon in an honest way have long known that it inhabits the same enigmatic hinterland as spectres, orbs, strange creatures and poltergeists. Jacques Vallee, the Pontoise born computer scientist, is a case in point. In Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact he consults a lecture given in 1942 by the parapsychologist G.N.M Tyrell given to the British Society for Psychical Research. It is called The Theory of Apparitions and he proposes that `... the apparent absurdity of the sequence of actions constituting the episode should be reducible to the triggering of high level perception patterns within the witnesses brain and not necessarily any normal physical process` (P-22). UFOs’ like ghosts, may be projected into our minds and may have as much to do with inner space as outer space. This would account for the striking ways in which the two phenomena overlap. Both:

*Come and go.
*Are often luminescent.
*Are often transparent.
*Defy the laws of physics.
*Are attention seeking.
*Can be frightening, but rarely harm anybody.
*Are associated with geographical regions.
*Home in on individual witnesses.
*Involve telepathic communications.

The last point in that list may be the most crucial one: many witnesses of UFOs are psychic, just as many witnesses of ghosts claim to be.

The former has been tested. The Austrian investigator Dr Alex Kreul adopted a radical approach to UFO sightings: he looked at the witnesses themselves to see if they had any outstanding attributes. In a study undertaken in the Home Counties of Britain between 1981 and 1982 he established that the overwhelming majority of witnesses reported a high incidence of Extrasensory Perception (E.S.P) in their lives. In fact, the closer the encounter is, the more likely it is that the witness will display E.S.P prone traits (The Psycho-sociology of the UFO by K.W.C Philips in UFOs: the Final Answer? p-45).

Perhaps then, UFOs, along with other High Strangeness phenomena are psychic projections picked up by those able to do so. If so, who – or what- is sending them?

The Psychic Projection Theory.

The first attempt to listen for ET signals was Project Ozma in 1960. Since then there have been over 100 powerful radio searches. Apart from the much debated `wow` signal of August 1977 – we have been met with what one writer termed an `eerie silence`. As the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi put it: `Where is everybody? `

Meanwhile, many UFO believers prefer to put their trust in contactee claims. The problem this poses has already been hinted at. Who, from the circus parade of Adamski’s blonde Venusians to greys from Tau Ceti are the `real` aliens?

No less an authority than Dr Allen Hyneck,in a lecture in Dayton Ohio in 1978, conjectured that the UFO phenomenon could be psychic energies trained on the earth from outer space (Hinde, p-208)

What if Hyneck was right? These projections then appear in the symbolic paralanguage of our Collective Unconscious: magical devices, prehistoric creatures, angels and demons, dead relatives, and so on. (In Carl Sagan’s novel Contact the extraterrestrials first show themselves to the heroine in the form of her late father).Also, just as ghosts appear wearing the clothes that the witnesses would expect them to be wearing, UFOs conform to the technological parameters of the time in which they appear.

The mystery airships of the 1860s were dirigibles with propellers, the flying saucers of the 40s and 50s had portholes and rivets, and modern UFOs put on laser light displays.

Then what of alien abductions? There are testimonies which suggest that they take place without any external involvement on the part of the victim. The Australian Maureen Paddy underwent a classic abduction scenario – with the difference that two UFO investigators-Paul Norman and Judith Magee - were sitting next to her in the car when the ordeal was supposed to be taking place (p-213 Danelek). If this seems like a damning indicator that such abductions are just episodes of morbid psychology then we need to refer to the findings of Professor John Mack. In his famous study of abductees he failed to find any trace of obvious disorders in them. One thing they did all have in common, and this may be significant, is `good visual creativity` (Randles, p’s 134-135)

H. J. Eysenck, the famous psychologist, writing on parapsychology with Carl Sargent, speculated that UFOs might just be `props`. Just as mediums of the Nineteenth century had `spirit guides` on whom they could blame their high (and uncomfortable) levels of E.S.P on, the psychics of today make use of `the ghosts of the technologically advanced twentieth century` (Eysenck,p’s 170-171).


The scientific consensus now holds that there is most likely intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy. We keep on discovering extra solar planets that could sustain life. Commenting on why we have not received an unambiguous message for them yet, the science writer Michael Brooks argues that we might be looking for the wrong kind of signal:

`To them, our ideas of what makes a good signal may be the equivalent of smoke signals or semaphore: hopelessly outmoded and inadequate` (Brooks, P-103, ).

The contention that ETs are showing their presence through psychic messages only requires that we accept the existence of telepathy and psychokinesis. It does away with the need for nebulous talk of `interdimensional beings`, `space-time wormholes` and so forth. This theory also means that we can acknowledge High Strangeness cases without relegating them all to the realm of psychiatric illness.

The messages could be sent out in pulses of what Carl Jung called `materialised psychism`. This would account for flaps in UFO sightings (as well as other paranormal phenomena). They may be aimed at certain sensitive parts of the earth, hence the localised nature of many sightings. As for what the ETs are trying to say – the message may just be: `We Are Here`, like a flashing neon shop sign. It could even be that they are not directed at us in particular!

Tunguska Revisited.

In 1964 the Russian science writers Genrikh Altov and Valentina Zhuravleva looked again at the Tunguska fireball of 1908. They proposed that the event, which devastated the area near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, was in fact a laser message beamed from the stars! They went on to speculate that it had originated from a planet orbiting round 61 Cygni and that it was a return call. The eruption of Krakatoa had, they said, generated radio waves which had been taken, by the ETs, as being a signal.

This is as bold a theory as has ever been forwarded by mainstream scientists. If, for a moment, we are to accept it, then why would our cosmic brethren need to use lasers when a pulse of telekinetic energy would do just as well? If we glance back at events in 1908 we can see that it was a time of High Strangeness reports. Airships were seen in the skies of Europe and America. Sea captains spoke of `magnetic clouds` descending on their ships. Yetis were encountered in Siberia, and, that summer, a 200 foot long sea serpent was observed by passengers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Perhaps Tunguska was not the only time we were zapped that year!

Edward Crabtree.


Atkins, Thomas/Baxter, John The Fire Came By (London: Futura Publications LTD. 1976)

Barclay, David and Therese UFOs: The Final Answer? Ufology for The 21st Century (London: Blandford Press, 1993)

Bowen, Charles (Editor) Encounter Cases From The Flying Saucer Review (New York: New American Library, 1977)

Brooks, Michael 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense (London: Profile books LTD, 2009)

Clark, Jerome/ Coleman, Loren Creatures of the Outer Edge (New York: Warner Communications Company, 1978)

Cohen, Daniel Encyclopaedia of Ghosts (London: Brockhampton Press, 1999)

Danelek, J. Allen UFOs –The Great Debate: An Objective Look at Extraterrestrials, Government Cover Ups and the Prospect of First Contact (Minnesota:Llewellyn Publications, 2010)

Eysenck J. Hans/ Sargent, Carl Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal (London: Bookclub Association, 1982)

Haining, Peter Ghosts: The Illustrated History (London: Treasure Press, 1974)

Hind, Cynthia UFOs: African Encounters (Zimbanwe: Gemini, 1982)

Kean, Leslie UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2010)

Randles, Jenny Truly Weird: Real Life Cases of the Paranormal (London, Collins & Brown Ltd, 1998)

Vallee, Jacques Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact (London: Sphere Books, 1988)

Verma, Surrendra The Tunguska Fireball: Solving the Great Mystery of the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Icon Books, 2005)

Article Copyright© Edward Crabtree - reproduced with permission.

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