Extra! Extra! Extraterrestrials Part 2
Strange lights in the sky!
Though it is hard to dispute the possibility of intelligent life existing somewhere else in the universe, the solid evidence from extra terrestrials visiting Earth is fleeting at best. Extraordinary claims, grainy photos and videos can in most cases be explained away.
Astronomer AlanHale says, “Stories about “lights” or “things” in the sky do not impress me, especially when such reports come from people who have no idea of the vast array of natural and man-made phenomena that are visible in the sky if one would only take the time to look.” I won’t drag this section out much; we have all heard of, weather balloons, meteorites, and once top secret aircrafts like the Stealth Bomber being mistaken for alien vehicles. We are also keenly aware of hoaxers hurling hubcaps and funky chandeliers transposed on photos of landscapes, but every now and then a video or photo still stumps the cynics.
If for some reason, this shaky “evidence” cannot be explained, the absence of pragmatic proof leads to a dead end. This isn’t to say these cold cases should be discarded altogether, but until there is something substantial for science to sink its teeth into, they should be placed on the back burner.
There is plenty of juicy stuff to ponder that is applicable to very real conundrums. Questions such as, why do people believe they have experienced close encounters with extra terrestrials or even been abducted by them; why are innocent cattle abducted and dismembered; what is with the widespread, isolated beliefs in gods from ancient times;? Do extraterrestrials have anything to do with these events? These are some of the questions I will explore.
Don’t probe me, bro!
While sightings of other worldly objects and beings have been accounted throughout history, alien abduction is a relatively new occurrence. Now maybe E.T.’s human research project is just getting started, but scientists lean toward the growing popularity of sci-fi at the time as the likely culprit.
On September, 21 1961, Pease Air Force Base received a report from Betty and Barney Hill of rural New Hampshire who claimed to have witnessed a UFO while driving. They later added that they had experienced an abrupt altered consciousness, were suddenly 35 miles from where they had started and hours had passed since their last memories. Later on it was revealed that Betty’s sister told her of a UFO she had sighted which prompted Betty to start reading about them. After the “close encounter” Betty started having dreams of her and Barney being abducted by strange beings. She postulated her dreams were repressed memories of the night in question. Barney found this idea ridiculous, but agreed to entertain Betty’s notion by submitting himself to hypnotherapy.
The scenarios articulated by Mr. Hill under hypnosis, whilst similar to Mrs. Hill’s dreams were also analogous to the popular sci-fi television program of the time, “The Outer Limits”. Were Barney’s subconscious expressions repressed memories or were they false memories, composites of Betty’s dreams and pop-culture? What about Betty’s dreams and the couple’s strange story? We will most likely never know what transpired on that lonesome road in 1961, but subsequent to the media frenzy surrounding the case, reports of “missing time” and alien abduction began to pop up all over the world. Due to the lack of empirical evidence, science had no choice but to conclude “alien abduction” was more of an inner space issue than an outer one.
Dr. Ronald Leo Sprinkle from the University of Wyoming was one of the first to devote serious time to the psychology of abductees. Sprinkle eventually came to believe that he himself had been kidnapped by aliens as a child and as you can probably imagine was drummed out of his job soon after.
Robert Baker, professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky was one of the first to ponder the topic and not get carried away. His position came to be that most of these cases were actually caused by the regressive hypnotherapy that was used to treat the “captives”. These procedures unlock the imagination, "Once you turn on the imagination, all things are possible” (Baker). Furthermore, Baker added that another explanation could be sleep paralysis, a condition where symptoms often include hallucinations of bizarre apparitions, sensations of floating and even being probed. How dreadful!
Harvard researcher Susan Clancy goes further to point out that these so called alien abductions usually coincide with mainstream, fictional media of similar accounts; abductees are usually more fantasy prone than usual and are often social outcasts who receive a spiritual reward from believing they were kidnapped by beings from the heavens. One “victim” stated, “The journey has enabled me to discover my place in the universe. I had felt abandoned, reduced to nothing but a sperm sample. Yet today I feel a tremendous expansiveness. In my total aloneness, I have discovered a oneness with the beings.” Clancy writes, “The abductees taught me that people go through life trying on belief systems for size. Some of these belief systems speak to powerful emotional needs that have little to do with science—the need to feel less alone in the world, the desire to have special powers or abilities, the longing to know that there is something out there, something more important than you that’s watching over you. Belief in alien abduction is not just bad science. It’s not just an explanation for misfortune and a way to avoid taking responsibility for personal problems. For many people, belief in alien abductions gratifies spiritual hungers. It reassures them about their place in the universe and their own significance.”
So, as far as psychology can tell about the advent of alien abduction, they are a mixture of sleep disorders, popular fiction, imagination and perhaps a longing to be a part of something greater than one’s self. Well played space invaders. Your human research has been dismissed as lunacy, but we’re wise to your bovine project!
E.T.’s Prime Cuts
Bovine excision or cattle mutilation is an elucidation bestowed to cattle carcasses with attributes that seem to defy explanation such as reproductive organs or other body parts removed with ostensibly surgical precision, the absence of blood from incisions and sometimes a strong chemical odor which lingers for days. Also, it is often reported that there are no tracks found to indicate how the cow’s bodies end up where they are found. It is as if they were dropped from the sky.
The earliest recorded reports of this phenomenon appear around the turn of the 20th century from England. Not long after, the tales and accounts faded into obscurity where they languished for over half a century until the 1960’s when they reemerged in Pennsylvania, Kansas and Colorado (perverted and depraved traveling surgical implement sales person? Maybe).
Since then suspects have run the gambit from satanic cults to the military, from ordinary predators and decomposition to the Chupacabra. It was even suggested these slaughters were perpetrated by war veterans with PTSD. Oddly, extraterrestrials were not widely associated with bovine excision until 1967 when the mutilated carcass of Lady the horse (aka Snippy) from Alamosa, Colorado, was discovered. I guess the alien field tech mistook “bovine” for “equine” on the work order or was feeling lazy that day and thought “four legs, eats grass, close enough”. Or they’re branching off into other species. How far does this have to go on before we get serious about getting to the bottom these horrific crimes, human excision?!
Actually, a considerable amount of time and money has been thrown into investigating these accounts. The ATF, FBI and the US Treasury Department all launched probes into them through the late 70’s and early 80’s. Most cases were determined to be death and decomposition by natural causes or the cadavers were in an advanced state of decay before they could be examined. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish analyzed Federal findings and opened their own investigation which claimed that several of the animals had been tranquilized and injected with anti-coagulant, but who or what had administered these things could not be explained. Also, their report stated that whoever or whatever was perpetrating these crimes was improving.
If the government is for some weird reason responsible for cattle mutilation, then government funded inquiries will not expose anything. If civilians are at fault for the macabre marring, then there are a lot of twisted individuals out there (wait a minute, what am I saying?). Until someone comes clean or we happen upon other worldly tourists ringing cowbells around a sizzling hibachi full of bovine genitalia, for me, this case is cold. Not so cold are the cases of crop circles, but they are, however interesting and they firmly establish a pattern.
Ah! The Country
Why wouldn’t aliens want to go to the country? There is no place I would rather be; I was there this past summer; I took a bath outside in a baby pool and afterward walked around in the sun completely naked aside from my boots to dry off. Where can you do this in the city? Furthermore, where in the city could you enthrall subjects for your clandestine experiments undetected and do crop circles?
Accounts of crop circles have been recorded for centuries. Up until modern times, they were dubbed “fairy rings” after legends that claimed dancing fairies were culpable. One case blamed the “Mowing-Devil” (depicted below).
Scientist Robert Plot suggested in 1687 that fairy rings were caused by “airflows from the sky”. He would later be proven correct; scores are created by cyclonic winds often during storms. A great deal has also been attributed to animals. Wallabies have been witnessed in Tasmania running circles through poppy fields after eating the plants and many animals trample down vegetation for bedding. Some species of fungus are also known to cause such patterns in foliage. Some scientists even suspect that localized electromagnetic fields could be the cause of some. Anyone interested in the paranormal likely knows by now that countless crop circles are fashioned by very human, practical jokers, but back in the late 1970’s, this wasn’t the case.
In 1978 a rash of elaborate crop formations began to spread across Great Britain. The media picked up on the curiosities and by the late 1980’s they were widely known, but remained largely contained to the English countryside. Locals would often attest to seeing strange lights in the sky prior to the discoveries and the E.T./fairy ring correlation emerged.
In 1991 Dave Chorley and Doug Bower made headlines when they stepped forward to confess that they had been responsible for the vast majority since 1978. They then brandished their simple, homemade crop stomping tools and proceeded to demonstrate how it was done on live television. Subsequent to this, crop circles became endemic throughout the world. Since 1978, roughly 10,000 have been reported all over the globe. Designs have become insanely intricate. There are now crop circle competitions around the world and big corporations now hire crop formation artists to create grandiose adverts that can only be seen from the air.
Despite all of this, several still adhere to the idea that a number of crop circles are of extraterrestrial origin. Maybe they’re right, but it is more likely that this is (like alien abduction) an inner space issue. Furthermore, proponents of the E.T./fairy ring correlation often have vested interests in the theory such as books and T.V. shows.
I saw it on the History channel, it must be true.
I was at first intrigued by Erich von Däniken’s Ancient Astronaut Theory. At face value it appears to have the potential to explain the widespread, isolated beliefs in celestial beings and gods, but upon further investigation, it fails to produce apparent physical evidence. To make matters worse, von Däniken allows his ethnocentricism to seep into his work and has driven the theory kicking and screaming into the realm of pseudoscience with exaggerated and even fabricated claims for wealth and fame. Anthropologist John T. Omohundro says of von Däniken’s book, “Chariots of the Gods”
“To check his ‘facts’ would take months of research, since he never cites his authorities.”
Indeed, the scope of the ancient astronaut theory warrants a hub or series of its own. I will need time for research. Part of me likes to think there is still something to the theory. Is it the part of me that longs to be a part of something greater than myself? I dunno, but von Däniken is not the credible, go-to source for serious inquiry. Hopefully he hasn’t damaged the theory beyond recovery.
So have we been visited by other worldly beings? Beats me, with our current technology it would take us 19,000 years to reach the nearest star beyond our sun; so they would definitely be more advanced than us if they made it here. I feel a well documented visit from cosmic neighbors could be one of the best things that could happen to our species. We might finally come together and see ourselves as Earthlings.