The Big Study

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Abduction and Hypnosis: a Letter from the Past.

I have reservations about this post.

I've had a copy of the following letter for a few years, don't know how many other folks have read it, and don't know whether it's published anywhere. It makes a strong statement about alleged UFO abductions of a certain type.

This will be controversial. I've not put it on the blog before now because I know that it will irritate colleagues, even some friends of mine. We all, every day, make these sorts of decisions: what to say and what to leave alone. I'm going to try to say very little myself and just let the letter writer speak.

This is, as you will see, a person who has earned an opinion.

The following is merely a full transcript of this letter, written to Ted Bloecher in 1977. The author was writing him to mention a case involving a husband and wife in Connecticut, which Ted was interested in learning more about.

"Dear Ted,

Here is a case, if you're interested - complete with everything. I would put it in the contactee-type but Gail had hypnosis with Jim Harder last year and as a result told of being taken from bedroom on board a ufo when she was about 12 or 13 years old. She became a contactee. The interesting thing is recently her husband joined her and he believes he is one also.

Apparently they use self-hypnosis and believe that they are receiving earth-shattering information about ufos - their term, complete with descriptions of aliens, messages, and he is somewhat upset for she reads his mind, and always knows what he is doing, although innocent.

They had contacts with one investigator, who, after a while was walking around with a Bible under his arm, and muttering about the devil. However in the past, a high rate of ufo sightings occurred behind their home - and they have seen numerous ones, including landed ones.

I have never met them personally, but have talked for fairly long periods of time via phone. They are looking for reassurance that they are not crazy - of course, they are not. But they have done damage to themselves - how many I have worked with! A person has a fairly good sighting, and somehow he gets trapped into thinking he is a contactee - he is connected with ufos in some way, so his friends make all kinds of suggestions - meditation, self-hypnosis - and the person goes on to drag out of his own mind all kinds of weird, nonsensical thinkings which he begins to believe. It takes two to three years of actively working with this type of person to get them back on their feet - to trace back every thought and how it originated. At the moment I do not have the time; also distance involved to work with them by phone would be too expensive. Unfortunately, thousands are brain-washing themselves thru readings contacts and in some areas attendance at training sessions to put themselves in this unhappy situation. While others are making them, I am curing them. But I can not come out and tell them what is happening to them - they must learn to realize this themselves, and to pinpoint some basic need which is being satisfied by this, a real human need of being special in some way. The same kind of situation happened with Marianne, but fortunately she is cured now, and I was able to protect her from investigation until we had this success. We do not have this type of situation in NH. Maybe because people who have close contact, get in touch with me. 

It would be appreciated if you could contact them -- is it ok for me to give them your address?


Betty Hill."

I'm going to say the minimum that I can shut myself up to say, and let this simmer.

1). Betty Hill had earned her opinion, particularly by 1977;

2). She uses the term "contactee" in her own broadly-conceived way [again, remember that this is 1977]. She includes any UFO encounter claimant who believes that these very close interactions are occurring to them all the time or "regularly." Whether "pleasantly informational" or just repetitively intrusive, she is concerned about people talking themselves into WAY more than what has actually happened to them;

3). Elsewhere, I have read Betty taking to task not only the self-hypnotizers [or even trusters in hypnogogic state imagery or dream memories], but particularly the, for her, abusers of bad and shallow unprofessional hypnosis techniques, who in her view were producing false beliefs in people who had certain personal and to-be-taken-seriously needs ... but which were not truly UFO related.

Historically, Betty did not know that she was talking to a Ted Bloecher who would take her views quite seriously [as he did everything which had any sense to it], but who also would find his flexibility of thought gradually eroded by the arrival in his research life [in a little over a year] of a UFO experiencer who would become the leading abductions hypnotist of all time.

I am probably in trouble with a lot of people now [if they meditate on the theoretical and actual consequences if Betty's views are correct], but ... well, I'm old and can try to just drift off into the sunset  on this subject. For some colleagues, it might clarify a little more why I have been an appreciator of cases like Betty and Barney's, or Buff Ledge [and a few others] without being a fan of the mass of modern abduction/regular contact claims.

Sorry, fellas.

Peace ... I mean it.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Something quick, folks.

I have been trying to at least list the UFO cases which have piled up in, well, piles around here [i.e. outside the relatively organized and useful cabinet files], and naturally stumble upon intriguing cases here and there. This one I have to share.

1968, Miraflores in Lima, Peru. A wife and Mom, who happened to own a well-to-do optical equipment store [telescopes and the like] was doing something that she and her two kids regularly enjoyed --- star-gazing through one of the family scopes. 

She, by eyeball, spotted a bright red object just at the star Rigel in the constellation of Orion. Swinging the telescope over that way, she saw a round red light with a white center. But that was the least of it.

The object went right over [i.e. in the line of sight] Rigel, occluding it. It then proceeded on a straight line to Orion's Belt made the appropriate turn, and occluded each of the belt stars in their turn. It then angled again to cruise in a straight line to Betelgeuse, and occluded that star as well. It then took off "north" towards Gemini, where it was lost. 

Thoroughly amazed, the lady and her children continued to scan the sky for it. About 15-20 minutes later, it suddenly appeared again right at Rigel as it had done before. This time it made a straight line through the Belt aimed at Betelgeuse, and occluded it. It then reversed course coming back directly towards Rigel, and, yes, occluding it again. This time it went away to the south. 

Twenty-five to thirty minutes later, the object manifested a Rigel again. This time it disappeared to the west without further ceremony. 

The witness, and her family, were personal friends of Richard Greenwell, the famous [now deceased] cryptozoologist, but maybe better UFO researcher from the middle APRO research days. I knew Richard somewhat, considered him a friend, published in his journal, and in my opinion, he was a pretty good investigator. Due to that, my confidence in this case is high. 

But what is really the "message" here? This lady and her sons were almost certainly the only persons on the face of our planet who could have seen these occlusions of Orion stars as the UFO flew its path. They were in their way amateur astronomers, and this UFO put on a special astronomy show JUST FOR THEM. 


This is pretty "personal". What does it mean? Why was it done? {readers of the blog know that I have about two dozen pretty good cases of this sort of what I call "astro-alignments".} 

Whatever it is, it is fascinating and creepy at the same time. Whatever agency flies these things knows EXACTLY where you are even at modest distances. If the "astronomy incident for the astronomers" thing is real, that agency may also know WHO you are. 

..... pause for meditation.

Till next time, folks, enjoy being in somebody else's "reality show." 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just a Piece of "Practical" News

Folks, this is only a "notice" of something that all of us who have spent serious time researching these anomalies {and who have collected files} need to consider. I know most everyone knows this, but if my experience with my personal friends holds true, we don't really do anything about it. This is, of course, the concern over preservation of the phenomenological elements of the subjects {the data}, and the human-involvement elements of the subjects {the history}, plus the related issue of making these piles of information more widely available to responsible scholars today and in the future.

When I was "young" {say only 65... ha!}, I thought about this, and dismissed the thought-process after about 30 seconds. Now that I am closing in on 74, that process lingers. And so I've begun to do something concrete about this. I'm going to briefly describe this {also concretely} in the hopes of "inspiring" many of you to begin to plan AND DO something about your own materials, without boring everyone to death reading this.

The above picture is my scanning project in action. There's not much to it. There's a great tabletop scanner which whizzes material through itself in astounding fashion and high-quality results, and a computer to send the data to. There are stacks of files, upon the fronts of each are their labels {to be typed onto the "data bundles" the scanner creates.} All the "bundles" for one category are stored in a "cabinet" {i.e. dedicated folder} labeled for that category.

Data-bundles {individual hardcopy files} show up then {stacked here on the left} and will ultimately be stowed in the proper Cabinet {the folders at the bottom right}. Cabinets created so far include all the major Hynek-like case categories plus several more specific phenomenological or historical holdings {the one "in process" on the screen is the McDonald collection as it exists in my files in Kalamazoo.}

Ten Gbs going on fifteen.... Once a cabinet is {temporarily, you can always add to it} complete, it gets transferred {actually just "copied"; of course the original copy stays on your computer} to a flashdrive. I'll probably make a few sets of these. The theory is that these resource holders would be {over time and with serious thought} distributed to trusted researchers around the world, and thus produce widening ripples of availability and persistence into the future. The data would be preserved and potentially in the hands of those who mattered and who respected it. What happens to the "hardcopy" is something which no one, honestly, has an answer to ... but my nerves rest easier knowing that a flock of electronic libraries full of packed cabinets will be out there.

Although this is real work, {no one should think that it's going to be really quick --- there are actions that each file should have done to it pre-scanning, like destapling, maybe rending and pasting up outsized paper documents, getting a proper label written on each folder for some "assistant" who might be helping you with the scanning, etc.}, it's not back-breaking and can be done on the pace you desire. Unpacking your filing cabinets CAN stress your space, however. I do it because I think that it's a duty that I have --- good old Catholic guilt strikes again. But I think that all of us with files should be doing this.

One further thing should go on: I'm lucky in that I have so many good and "invested" friends so that once I get this sort of thing done, I have a natural {and somewhat deep} initial audience to distribute the material to. I intuit that everyone might not be so fortunate. We need a method for people to inform other responsible people about what they have and if they're ready to share it. I don't know how to pull that off. I have friends whom I believe might be willing to help in that facilitation, but I personally am really busy with my own stuff {and other life projects, before it's too late}. With encouragement, I'd probably agree to participate as an associate facilitator of such information selective-sharing, just, as usual, due to Catholic guilt. Anything of this nature would probably involve several members of The UFO History Group.

Anyway ... the future of Anomalies Research is Out There, or should be, if we are to be a healthy explorative civilization. Each of us has some responsibility towards that, methinks. Contribute not only to the Present but also to the Future if you can.

Peace, friends.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What Do UFOs Do?

"What do UFOs do?"

Whereas we might give that limited question an honest try, we must admit that it will be unlikely that we'll come to clarity on WHY they do it. Some of us have been quite frustrated about that, even leading to retirement from the field of UFO research with bad feelings. I'm not.

Researching this mystery has been some of the greatest fun. In a way, it's nice that it hasn't resolved quickly. In most ways the "fun" of it would be gone. I'll happily take it either way: all-knowledge-revealed-tomorrow or go-to-the-grave-not-having-it-all. UFOs, fascinating as they are, are peripheral to our lives [or should be], as we can wake up each morning and live and love and be good members of society whether they're around or not. It is my opinion that even those people who think that they are having a more intense experience with these things still have the choice as to how they're going to live their waking lives.

So, rightly or wrongly, my view is that UFOs have been "spice" in my existence but not the meat and potatoes of it. But how does one stay interested in any intense or at least ongoing way if THE Answers don't come? Well... I think that answers DO come, just not final ones. ALL the truths about human foolishness [the poor way we handle the subject] can come and this embeds within it profound knowledge about ourselves and our individual and organizational flaws. I've learned more about humans and academia and the military through UFO Studies than any classroom or "normal" life experience.

But we also have learned things, little fragments of things, about the phenomenon itself. We haven't spent decades learning nothing.

To learn these fragments we must immerse ourselves in the phenomenology --- the cases, and LOTS of them. I continue to be stunned as to how many persons [even those who define themselves as "UFOlogists"] have minimalist familiarity with the incidents which should make up the foundation of their opinions. Due to this, I have [and this is hard to say without sounding like an overinflated ass] almost no respect for the vast number of persons, academics, or UFO commentators when they open their mouths to give us the "benefit" of their unearned conclusions. STUDY THE CASES DAMMIT!!

But enough of that. Raving doesn't help. What I'd really like to do today is to explore a little more into the case files and just see if anything can be seen today. Maybe some little thing slightly new will arise; maybe just a slightly different thought; maybe nothing at all except a bit of fun in wonderland.

What do UFOs do?

If you and I were sitting alongside Colonel George Garrett at the USAF Pentagon Collections desks in the late 1940s, and the military and civilian sightings were trickling in, we would almost assuredly come to the same tentative conclusion that he did: these things were aerial technology of a very advanced sort, but they don't have any particularly noticeable agenda. They seem to be involved with overflights, but why? They don't get particularly close to anything, and when they do, it could be seen as just accidents of coincidence --- i.e. we and they only happened to be in the same general area at the same time. One might entertain the idea that these things were not much interested in us "personally" at all.

That, of course, changed. Maybe it was always changed, but the dominant feeling about the phenomenon seemed "distant." When this seemed to change however, it still didn't take on the up-close-and-personal flavor until the bizarre wildness of the 1954 European and South American waves, which were difficult to credit if you were a distrustful American. The USA up-close-and-personal seemed to wait until the 1957 "electromagnetic interference" wave. Even there, for the most part, the feeling was that these encounters could just as easily been accidents of paths crossings rather than deliberate. But maybe we should have looked more closely.

What should we have been looking for and chronicling? How might the UFOnauts have decided to become more interpersonal? How could they have become more "directed", and DID they?

With the benefit of hindsight, one might deride oneself with the viewpoint that the UFOs had already done this en masse during WWII in both theatres of war. The foo fighters seemed definitely "interested." Incident after incident they paced our planes. They didn't seem to want to interfere with anything, but pace they did. This happened so often that no statistician could claim random behavior or coincidental placement. Of course we civilians weren't privy to the extent of the foo fighter phenomenon, and the military refused to release information [they still to a degree refuse], and so it's hard to complain about John Q Public not seeing this about UFOs, but we can be free to question the military's obtuseness in not focussing on it later.

Still this military density points the way to our conversation: what, without blunt overt landings in DC, might the UFOs do without getting too spectacular?

UFOs could show interest in several ways --- my imagination isn't good enough to spell out a long list, but here are a few behaviors. A). the UFOs could engage in some forms of appearance which were/are obvious displays for the "benefit" of individuals or groups. As UFO research has matured, several sorts of these display behaviors have been noted and described. I'm personally proud of the "astro-alignment" form of directed display --- sorry for the ego-trip but can't help being human. These sorts of displays could be interpreted as being somehow for the benefit of the audience displayed to, even if we cannot figure out what that benefit is.

B). the UFOs could engage in forms of responsive behavior --- Father Gill's waving UFOnauts, UFOs which return light flashes, or which engage in motions coincidental to actions taken by us humans. There are many other such cases showing seemingly responsive behavior. This sort of thing could too be interpreted as for the benefit of the observer, again even though we might not be able to define the nature of that benefit.

C). the UFOs might engage in some sort of persistent motion or presence apparently keyed upon an individual or group or even a structural form, while we are watching. This behavior is messier. It could be labeled "monitoring", or maybe "curiosity", or it might be labeled simply "pursuit" without any further human interpretation, or it might be labeled as some form of "stalking." It is in that latter designation that one would "turn a corner" as far as interpreting the actions of the UFOs. At this point, the behavior seems to shed the "for our benefit" aura, and transform into "for THEIR benefit."

Do UFOs "stalk?"

I'm going to delay my feeble analysis of that question for just a minute to look at "monitor", "curiosity", and "pursuit" because maybe that will be useful in deciding whether we should put the emotional "stalking" adjective into these affairs.

Do UFOs "monitor?" Well, I believe that such a descriptor is legitimate. The foo fighters seem more like "monitors" than anything else to me. The disturbingly regular flyovers of places like Oak Ridge and Los Alamos/White Sands seem the same. In 1952, a disk-shaped object parked itself over the Douglas Aircraft facility in Santa Monica, CA resulting in the establishment of a private in-house study group of elite aerotech engineers wanting to research UFOs. During the 1950s, at two different time periods, a gold-metallic globe appeared about monthly in the same part of the sky in sight of the Goldstone Tracking Station near Banning, CA. I can't help saying "monitoring", when I read such cases. Certainly they occasionally are acting in SOME sort of intentional behavior.

Do UFOs show "curious" behaviors? My sister-in-law's best friend had a father who worked the nightshift at the aluminum refining plant at ORMET, OH. He was on break when he saw a structured UFO turn out of the region of the hills to the north and begin to fly precisely down the center of the Ohio River, When it got to the dock area of the plant, it turned sharply to its right and flew over his head into the plant area. It slowly dived down, as if to get a better look at the buildings, and cruised through. After getting to the end of plant property, it rose back to its original height, turned north into the mountains, and went its way. "Curious?" Seems so to me.

In the lower diagram above, non-military pilots were flying over Pasadena, CA airspace when three red-orange disks cruised by, then broke off their flight path to make a rapid circle-and-a-half around the plane. they then shot off on another path. Was this "curiosity", or just showing off what they could do? They didn't try to intimidate the pilots, just "fly rings around them."

The well-known and extremely odd case from Logrono, Spain leaves us straining to interpret the action as anything other than curiosity. In the encounter a smallish bright BOL entered the seminary student's window and noiselessly floated across the bedroom. When it got opposite the audiotape deck, it emitted a coherent beam of light which entered the slot of the recorder [where one would normally place a tape.] Shortly the beam was retracted [this thing acted like the cases of "solid light"; it even seemed to "bump" an object once upon touching it] , the BOL moved about the room a short while more and then left by the window as it had entered. Although the witness himself was terrified, that doesn't seem to have been the intent of this "intrusion." Still, this whole beam-in-the-recorder business seems absurd in the bigger picture, so what the actual intent was remains obscure.

I'm going to shortshrift the "responsive" category --- there are many cases, some sort-of-distant objects, some not-right-on-top-of-you close encounters [there seems to be a "civilized distance" wherein these responding UFOs act generally] in which the UFO seems [usually clearly] to react to something that the humans do --- most often flashing lights at it, or turning lights off. As to the agenda here, one might only say that the operators of the UFO are affirming the reality of their presence to the witnesses. These responses are almost always extremely simple and not long-lived before the UFO goes its way.

So let's get to the question of pursuit and "stalking." Do UFOs "stalk" humans?

This is a question that I can't in honesty answer. The reason for that is, as we've hinted earlier, the concept "stalk" has a large interpretive emotional element to it, which resides in the heads of the purported stalker and the alleged stalkee. We only have the person experiencing the possible stalk to talk to. ... not the ideal situation.

Still, let's stumble on. I have about eighty case files which might be considered relevant to the issue of stalking. Whether any of them seem more "curious" or "simple pursuit" vs "stalking" [I'm using stalking now as a concept containing some negative impact on the witness --- deliberate frightening, deliberate intrusion into their secure space, deliberate maneuvering the witness into doing something that they don't want to do], you and I will have to guess for ourselves.

In my opinion, the majority of these cases could easily be interpreted as simple pursuit or curiosity. But not all.

Here are a few reasons [from the files] that one might defend the theory that some encounters have an "unfriendly" nature:

A). There are a handful of cases where the UFO not only "dogs" the car or plane but penetrates the driver's area or the cockpit with either a beam or an engulfing light;
B). There are about the same number or more cases where the UFO seems clearly to take over the control of the car, or, in the famous Coyne Helicopter case, the helicopter, for a time before releasing it;
C). In several instances the UFO/BOL not only dogs the automobile but continues in an apparent menacing proximity wherein the occupants are screaming and driving recklessly, and in the case of two different cycling encounters, are driven off the road;
D). In several walking encounters, young women are terrorized by BOLs or objects, and in a few cases these objects will park themselves right over the heads of the concerned observers.

Perhaps "strong-minded" observers could take these sorts of actions in stride, but these witnesses were usually terrified by them.

Why would knowing if these events were deliberately "negative" be important? I have my own theoretical context wherein I try to see if I can understand what's going on, as some of you know. For widely cast reasons, I think that it is a reasonable viewing point to think that very advanced civilizations will be of one of three types. There will be civilizations which have come to the conclusion that there are important moral considerations to living life, a Spirit, a God, a Moral Demand. Or, there will be civilizations which have come to the exact opposite conclusion: no Spirituality, no God, an Amoral Condition regarding "others." Or, there will be civilizations which are still open to the Big Questions of Existence, and take a "anxious to still learn" attitude.

I've described elsewhere how each of these three types of civilizations would have almost no incentives to interfere with newly discovered planet's cultural development. One would not as it would be an immoral violation of freedom. Another would not as the only thing we might offer them would be our "novelty" upon which they could stealthily vicariously prey. And the third would also wish to keep our novelty pure [not imitative] in the hopes of learning from our fresh path.

But these three attitudes seem to me to differ slightly in terms of what behaviors might be on their agenda. The Moral Civilization would rarely if ever become overt even to an individual. Particularly they would not "stalk." The Searcher Civilization {number three in the above paragraph} would only very gingerly tinker with the lives of people in a society which they wished to remain freshly on its own path. But the Vicarious Predator Civilization might well choose to be crudely interactive with individuals, while keeping the culture as a whole blissfully going its own "original" ways.

If UFOs actually "stalk", that could be a sign that at least the Vicarious Predator Civilization is around.

Still, that is far far from being a conclusive thing. Some encounters seem benign. Some seem just delightful. {The drawing about is the array which showed itself to a lady returning from one nearby New Mexico city to her home, and the Array kept its distance AHEAD of her all the way down the road to her neighborhood.} A BOL in Paxson, AK seemed to move so as to save a State Trooper's life. Other encounters have been more openly playful. Maybe the "playful" or beautiful ones are courtesy of the other civilization types, or maybe the vicarious thrill seekers like all the emotions.

There could be lots more said about this, and lots more researched. For me, at least at this moment, I think that we are lucky: whoever's "out there" watching, they don't want to be doing too much messing around --- almost none with "cultural development" and not a lot even individually in any great percentages. Maybe that restraint is self-imposed; maybe it is imposed by the other two super-civilization types.

Either way, or some other way I can't crystallize, the UFO phenomenon doesn't seem THAT scary.

Peace and gentle dreams, folks.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SETIans & UFOs: A {pathetic} Snapshot of who we are.

I was preparing my McDonald files for scanning yesterday, and came across many interesting things {to say the least}, some remembered and passed by at the time, some "new", as to remind me that there is still MUCH work to be done to tell the history of UFO studies properly.

The small thing that I'd like to share today is something Big Mack found out from Carl Sagan way back in 1967, when the Colorado Project was getting rolling [first of March of that year.] But indulge me while I frame this little fact, so it gets its true moment in history.

In 1966 the Air Force announced the {allegedly} "Scientific Study of UFOs" at the University of Colorado, as you are all aware. By that time McDonald had come completely out-of-the-closet with his views that this was one of the most important studies Science could be making, and that UFOs were most probably the Mystery of the Century. What many persons don't realize is that some of the founders of SETI weren't far off from that level of interest themselves. For those of you who have heard the SETIans constantly smirk and mock UFOs [overinflated deriders such as Seth Shostak and Jill Tarter are the current attack dogs], this will seem simply unbelievable. We all know that people like Sagan and Frank Drake thought UFOs were a joke. Well, guess again....

In my "youth" I thought that nothing was more natural than to "like" both SETI and UFOs. How could it not be? Searching for ETI both near and far, what's more obvious? If one listens to what comes out of the mouths of "modern" SETIans, one is, initially at least, boggled. One will not get more brutal comments out of anyone in academe about UFOs than from the pursuers of SETI. But, if one really makes a study of this, this unscientific babble issuing from the public SETIans is far more complicated indeed.

Carl Sagan is easier to read than most. The reason, I believe, is that Sagan was always, even as a very young Tribe Member, a colossal egotist who simply felt that he was smarter than anyone else. This inflated self-assurance gave him a corresponding naiveté about the social dimensions of the scientific tribe. The above press clipping is a concrete example. I have always nicknamed it "Sagan's Error."

Note the year: 1966. UFOs are having a flapping good field day in the American skies, Hynek is screwing up by announcing his "swamp gas" conclusions, and the USAF is looking as bad as it has in many years. Sagan proceeds with his career blissfully unaware of anything associated with the sociology of this. At a science meeting, he joyfully announces that he has estimated the colonization times of alien races expanding throughout the galaxy, and that his math shows that it is likely that aliens have visited Earth 10,000 times in our past, perhaps even historically recently. Naturally no one in the public cared about what anyone else at that meeting had to say about anything.

But it wasn't this up-staging of the great-and-near-great that upset the establishment. Sagan was treading on unacceptable grounds in several ways, and was viewed as a detriment to Science. But, the soon to be announced Colorado Project allowed him to survive his gaff, as until Colorado said differently, UFOs were allowed to be studied. {Once Condon "spoke" however, Sagan would get his "crossing-the-line" butt kicked.}

While Colorado lasted, scientists could occasionally be seen actively investigating UFO cases outside the Project and being taken seriously. Of course the famous presence was Jim McDonald of Arizona [seen here on the far left.] But others were appearing from behind the secure protective walls of their universities too. The other three guys in the photo are Philip Seff,  Judson Sanderson, and John Brownfield. Seff was a geologist; Sanderson a mathematician, and another colleague was a chemist. They were studying an incident in Redlands, CA in early 1968.

The University of Redlands professors got the Colorado Project to OK their investigation as a sort of extension of the Project, even though it was being done by outside personnel. They were very cautious in the investigation --- reputations to consider after all. But in the end their verdict was markedly "out-of-line" with the establishment. Seff's conclusions said bluntly: no known air technology; no natural phenomenon; this was a "UFO". They sent the report into Colorado, where it was placed in the files but not the study.

Occupying very close to the same mental space as Carl Sagan [without the towering ego] was Frank Drake. In the early 1960s he had spearheaded the earliest serious SETI search out of the National Observatory in Greenbank, WV {Project OZMA} and sent the first science-team produced message to the stars [somewhat illegally, much to the displeasure of certain security-minded intel personnel.] In 1961, he developed the famous Drake Equation [he did not name it --- but Sagan later tweaked it VERY slightly so it could be called the Sagan-Drake equation --- we've dumped Carl's name lately as a rare moment of justice and civilized behavior.]

By 1968 he was corresponding to Allen Hynek and listening to Jim McDonald about the travesty which Condon was creating at Colorado. He wrote to Hynek in May 1968: " What I heard in Tucson curled my hair --- never heard anything like it before.... the main participants are going to have to dye their hair, change their names, and vanish." Oh, the naiveté as to whom would have to vanish!

He wrote to the National Academy of Sciences that same month: "with regard to the Condon study, the reports of participants and the discussion in LOOK Magazine show clearly that the study must be discredited, both with regard to scientific quality and with regard to any interpretations that come with it.

"Secondly, I feel that it is clear that a thorough and broad investigation of UFOs is called for. The evidence is overwhelming that there is a real physical and not solely psychological UFO phenomenon.

" In view of the peculiarity of the phenomenon, and the broad public interest in it, there is justification for the expenditure of considerable funds to elucidate it."

Ahem... uhh... not exactly your 21st century SETI commentary on the subject methinks. Unfortunately for dear Frank, he didn't realize that his NAS letter was going to Condon's own favorite student, Frederick Seitz, who thought exactly like his mentor. The letter rapidly was sent onto Ed who blistered Drake. Drake wrote back apologetically, but trying to reach a compromise. Naturally Ed was having none of it and Drake got a black mark next to his name.

Drake tucked his tail and shut up. He still occasionally and very privately went about investigating nearby cases initially around Ithaca, NY [Cornell U.] and later in California. He always denied to curious reporters that he was interested. ... but he was.

So.... One day in 1967, on his juiced up all-over-the-place-at-once schedule relentlessly pursuing UFO cases and support for researching them, Jim McDonald found himself at a conference focussed upon the atmospheres of Venus and Mars. Many heavy hitters were there. Two of them were Alaister Cameron [middle], who had pulled himself up by his bootstraps scientifically, and was an organizational-type networker as well as a good scientist, and the young, still cocky and largely unbowed, Carl Sagan. It was doubtless an interesting trio to have been grouped with.

McDonald was querying Cameron about where UFO Research might possibly land as a permanent home and funding center. Cameron said : NASA couldn't do it now [The main reason for this should have been severe budget cuts, not anti-UFOism then since Colorado was in high gear..  sort of anyway.] Sagan was listening attentively to this exchange, when he offered something to McDonald that Mack thought worth writing down.


When just out of college, and a member of ROTC, Frank Drake had enrolled in the Navy to pay off his student loans. He stayed in a couple of years, serving on the destroyer USS Albany, on duty in the Atlantic.

At the Mars-Venus conference, Sagan told McDonald and Cameron this:

While on duty in the North Atlantic, Drake witnessed THE EMERGENCE OF A UFO FROM THE WATER from the Albany.

I wonder ... is it conceivable to anyone that such an experience could serve to interest the "Father of SETI" for a lifetime, if only from a safe closet?? [please insert sarcasm and irony tones].

The truth is that all sorts of SETIans have/had a true interest in UFOs. I had the great privilege to attend a workshop on the Odds on ETI run by the wonderful gentleman Dr. Michael Papagiannis from Boston University [himself an editor of a SETI-related journal.] Papagiannis was clearly interested and published his opinion that ETI could easily be in the Solar System currently and living in large space-faring structures in the asteroid belt. [where he suggested we make a genuine research probe to see.]

So why the disconnect?

Two things control almost everything: Money and Fear. The big wheels follow the money. Think about it: if the government spends a ton on UFOs, everybody else suffers. Where's the incentive to be a supporter? Especially if you're in a field where the new guy is directly going to put you out of business. UFO data: thousands. SETI data: zero.

The second thing is fear. If you're not a big wheel, your whole research life depends upon how the wheels view you. Sagan almost got blackballed by the wheels until he finally got in line and began publicly mocking UFOs. I know that this is NOT where the romantic side of him naturally went. For certain it was not where Drake's and Papagiannis' were.

We were all young hot-shots exploring the whole universe with our imaginations once upon a time. Some got so "important" that they had to shut some of the windows onto their souls. Thank the Lord that I never became important.... LOTS more fun and feeling "clean" that way.

God bless and Peace, friends. Keep the pure winds of truth in your sails.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Ghostly vs Biological Sides of the Central Asian Wildman

The work of Rinchen and his insightful idea about relating a disappearing ecosystem to the disappearance of the Wild Man, plus the distressing "news" about Tibetan alternative medicine make a case for the biological reality of the creature at least once upon a time, if not now. But there is the whole other side of the experiences which still lingers about the subject --- that many if not most of the encounters [in the end] don't result in anything particularly physical at all [except "footprints-in-the-snow."] To put it another way, the paranormal theory is still out there.

I'll not be able to be a lot of help on this conundrum, but it feels to me that some of the sanest-seeming materials gathered by the Russian Committee have that "ghostly" aura of "you can just about see me can't you?" that passes a bit of a chill over my mind when I contemplate these things. Today I'll report on some more of the things in the monographs which are so familiar to us: that the "thing" seems just there, but just not quite in reach.

A recurring commentary in these materials [which the Committee wants to ignore, as it is very enthusiastic about finding some crypto-bioform], is that many of the sources feel that the entity is a demon or in our terms some sort of paranormal being. When western-type hunters want to shoot the creature, the local people insisted that they stop --- apparently quite persuasively, as the hunters did so against their predilections. Many of the reports have the herder/peasant meeting the wildman and, naturally, running away, but the reporter insists on remarking that one MUST do this as the wildman is a demon and brings ill fortune. At least half of the stories involving lamas/monks have them running in fear of the demon, or maintaining "relics" [bogusly simulated or not] with serve as respect for these entities. Some of these "relics" are even employed in ceremonies. The lamas cannot be taking these entities lightly.

So what's going on? Shouldn't the lamaseries know what they're talking about? They should be the long-term memories of the region, and the foci for all manner of information. Yet they persist in thinking of the beings as preternatural. Are they just more ignorant than others living in the same locales? That seems to me to be like believing that The Vatican had less knowledge about what was going on in the Italian Alps in the Middle Ages than other people.

The Russian Committee gathered information about the two books illustrated above. Although I don't note that they mention this, these two documents were uncovered by a research team from Czechoslovakia which visited Mongolia and particularly Ulan Bator in 1958 to study Mongolian anthropology and archaeology. While at the former monastery of Gandan, the team discovered the top illustrated manuscript, and at the central library in Ulan Bator, the bottom one.

The top is originally Tibetan, and with a translation into Chinese. The bottom is in Mongolian with a translation into Manchurian. The bottom is, as best as I can determine from sketchy commentary, a "recent" book, dating perhaps to the early 20th century. The top book is at least one hundred years older. One is obviously the source for the other, and that source is Tibetan.

The text of the entire book [much longer than just the "wildman" pages illustrated] is entitled something  like "Anatomical Dictionary for Recognizing Various Diseases", and is a sort of "natural medicine" book. It is filled with illustrations and descriptors of Tibetan Flora and Fauna, and relates them, sadly, to their use in producing curatives for these diseases.

Although I remain disgusted by the idea, the wildman is described as a source of medical materials. The text which specifies the use of wildman materials is written beside the drawing in the 20th century version. "The wildman lives in the mountains, his origin is close to that of the bear, his body resembles that of a man and he has enormous strength. His meat may be eaten to treat mental diseases and his gall cures jaundice." [This is pretty similar to what books on Tibetan medicine say about Bears today]. Whether this is also stated somewhere in the older Tibetan version, I don't know. One assumes that something of the sort must be there somewhere.

But I'm puzzled by a whole number of things here. The Tibetan version pictures the wildman ["mi rgod"][ could be related to "mi-ge" as we've heard before] with some significant difference to the Mongolian. The Tibetan is black/dark not white/light and is very much more ape or even bear like. Though both are posed anthropomorphically, for some reason the later Mongolian version has chosen to make its "kumun goregesu" much more facially human. None of the later manuscript's facial features appear in the Tibetan original.

I don't know what to make of this. As a historian, I trust the primary manuscript over the secondary. If so, what is it telling us? Maybe that the wildman is more ape or bear or unknown like than the near-man of the Mongolian. One could see why the authors of a medicinal text would feel more comfortable slaughtering a bear-like or an ape-like animal than a human-like one.

But, if this seems to push the definition more towards the cryptobiological animal concept, what explains all the folkloric and "theological" stuff? We need a Tibetan scholar that's for sure. For me this is driving me to the concept of two wildly different opinions about Mi-Ge/ Gul-biavan/Yeti in Tibet.

Some Buddhists seem to regard it as an animal to be harvested. Some Buddhists seem to regard it as a spiritual entity or force. The former sounds like the old Bon Nature Religion. The latter sounds like "High Buddhism." Some of the everyday folks seem to see it in the Bon way; some seem to see it in the paranormal spirit way. Who's correct? It's possible, I suppose, that both are.

This is a big place rife with tales collected all over it. Rinchen's interest areas are mainly in the area shown, but the southwestern China mountains and rhododendron forests and the edge of the Himalayas don't even make it on the map. Can we have Almas in the regions above, and in the rhododendron forests they or some other cryptobio-beings? And can we at the same time have the Mi-Ge paranormal entity that the lamaseries of the Himalayas are so concerned about? Do the two [or three?] mysteries flow together in migrating stories all over the region, making their unraveling nearly impossible?

I'd like to mention one other thing. It is probably irrelevant but who knows? The Tibetan illustration for the Wildman chooses to pose the entity in a way which seems a little surprising to me. I get the upright stance, but I don't see why one would bother with the high-held left arm. Unless maybe it's originally meant to be symbolic.

Tibetan illustrations are extremely symbolic in how they portray limbs placement. What you find is that the left arm is rarely raised --- I don't know why, surely Tibetan scholars do. In the rare cases of a raised left arm, the entity is usually either threatening something or in one case I found up to no good. If the original picture of the Wildman used by the Tibetan medical book writer was in fact a Tantric illustration of a powerful spiritual being [which the later writer ignored because he was of a differing school of thought about Mi-Ge] then illustrating the Mi-Ge in this stance was merely copying "old knowledge", but with none of the original intent to convey the spirit meaning.

As I say, perhaps this means nothing. But there is plenty of room in Tibetan thought for wild humanoid form demon entities wandering the mountains and forests. "Bdud" [top] and "Ma-Mo" [bottom] are folks that I have no desire to run into.

For all my reading in these Russian documents, I, for what little this is worth, come away with two fairly strong impressions: 1). Rinchen and a slightly earlier Russian had a brilliant idea that one could correlate more convincing wild man tales with the inclusion within them of mentions of primitive horses and camels --- thus pointing to a signature ecology within which this creature [perhaps the "Almas-style version" of these things] might have existed; and 2). that the most realistic "evidence" for me have been the tales by observant hunter/explorers who speak of mysterious footprints not matching the known, and unidentifiable sounds in the night, and distant shadowy figures naked and hair-covered but uncatchable.

Rinchen makes me believe in the animal. The explorers make me lean back to the spirit entity. So, yes, as usual, the mystery remains robust.

I'll leave you with this guy with the forbidding raised left arm: he's using his formidable power to hold back the Sun in order to not pay his bar bill --- I kid not. Seems like an abuse of power to me.

Peace friends --- hope you had a Happy St. Pat's and paid your bar bill.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Dark Side to the Disappearance of the Asian Wildman??

Once upon a time in Tibet....

sometime in the 17th century, a Tibetan lama was painting a large wall-hanging Tamka/Tangka [spell it as it pleases you; I've seen it several ways] for meditation within a temple space. Its central figure was probably Padmasambhava, and arrayed about the edges were squares within which other deity-like figures were represented. One, our revered lady above, was Green Tara.

Something happened to that temple. It may have been destroyed or abandoned during the 20th century encroachment of the Chinese, or it may have ceased to exist earlier. The wall-hanging meditation paintings made their way into Nepal. There, the caretakers of the paintings decided that they had no further use for them, and sold them to a westerner. For whatever reason, he simply stored them away ... badly.

After the Viet Nam war, two dishonorably-discharged survivors of that war hung on in south Asia, migrating into Nepal. They turned into "modern-style" Buddhists --- with the shallow mantras of the new agers layered over what were basically good hearts. Desperate to "make a living", the Wisconsin native returned to the USA to set up an Oriental Curio shop, while the friend stayed in Nepal as the acquirer.

There he discovered the 17th century paintings rotting away unseen for many years. Mostly they were tragically unsalvageable. Sometimes along the edges, vignettes were just still "alive". So our Green Tara was cut from the remainder of the decay, and sent on. She was damaged, but unbowed.

Then one day in the 1970s, a young man from Milwaukee and a young man from Kalamazoo decided to meet halfway in Chicago to exchange money for treasure. The ex-Catholic Buddhist and the Irish-Catholic boy from Michigan both thought it somewhat of a hoot that the meeting was in the lower level of St. Patrick's Cathedral. They were sure that the Spiritual World was smiling.

The Milwaukeean brought a dorje, a phorba, a butter-burnt skullcap, a thighbone trumpet, and other wonders in his sack. In his hand was the rolled cloth of Green Tara. ... and so she came to Michigan.

... and what does this have to do with the Central Asian Wildmen? For me at least it had a lot to do with the issue, and this is withering away now that I'm reading the Russian documents. Tara, for me, personified the sort of Buddhist insight that I felt was Buddhism greatest contribution to world culture: the holding sacred of life in all its forms, and all its relationships. Tara is the life-protecter, the healer, the enlightener of Nature. She imprinted upon my mind the idea that in this Buddhist world, advanced living things would not be deliberately killed. Thus, it seemed to me, any almas, yeti, gul-biavan would stand an exceptional chance at remaining.

The Russian documents tell me that this is nearly completely wrong.

I was reading along in monograph #3 of the Russian Committee, generally enjoying the text although its evidence wasn't inspiring at the moment, when I ran into a depressing run of pages. The content focussed on Tibetan Medicine.

I'd heard about Tibetan Medicine, of course, and how it was split between two "schools" of medical knowledge: healing medicine and killing or "political" medicine. For some reason I had never put this together with my view of the peaceful, life-affirming higher Buddhist ideals. I guess it was because, try as one might, it DOESN'T fit well together. In these pages of the Committee materials, it became obvious that not only was "political" medicine disjunctive with Green Tara's higher ideals [though one can always rationalize War as a sort of re-harmonizing], but even curative medicine was no innocent lamb. In short, the pages talked of using the Wildman as fodder for a certain medical recipe of great monetary worth. ... oh great.

The Text talked of the production of "Mumen" or Moomuyam", and it's necessary ingredient: the boiling down of a "Red Man", or an Akvan.

Well, naive me. I've regularly cursed traditional oriental medicine for aiding in the extinction of many of the Lord's finest creations in Asia, but to extend this to the Central Asian Wildmen still took me by surprise.

After a series of near-ridiculous folk stories about Wildmen, which they said were referred to as "Khivan" or "Akvan", the following quote appeared:

"The Hindu gypsies, Lule, used to be in close communication with the Snow Man, because of that famous medicine, Mume, which was in great demand in the center of Asia, and only Indian rajahs nabobs could afford the price of it. The gypsies, who before the revolution were wandering to the south of middle Asia, used to talk about the Snow Man, but, like the Kurgiis {Kirghiz?}, they don't consider him a supernatural creature."

Then after a few sentences about how some regions view the Snow Man as a spirit and others an animal [the name Khivan allegedly meant animal, but to me this might be a prejudice as there are people named Khivans in bordering areas --- Akvan however is universally a spirit demon], the text turned back to the "medicine".

"The neighborhood around Khakim on the river Karakahl in the Gap of the Duwakh Gara [the Russian transcriber of the original audiotapes was having a losing battle with the names therein], is pointed out as one where there are many Gevs [another name for wild men], and there is an abundance of material for the Mumer. "

That "testimony" ended to be followed by separate things retelling experiences of finding footprints on high mountain glacial snow. These were somewhat interesting even though direct contact was not involved --- I may get to them in a later post. It would have been nice if this was all there was about Mumer, as I wouldn't have even focussed on it at all. But more "testimony" came in from Uzbekistan and the town of Sergan.

In this a man spoke of his father who was very interested in the medicines of central Asia. About Mumer he said:

"This medicine was supposedly effective in all kinds of sicknesses and diseases. I might say that in 1912, one little grain of this mysterious potion was almost one ruble in gold, ... this was certainly a very expensive medicine. ...

"This Mumer was peddled around by the Luli or the Asiatic gypsies.  {He then listed several authorities on these claims}. There was a rumor that this potion was procured by the cooking or boiling of a live red man {an Orang-utan?}, but my father had obtained information that this was procured by boiling a red Khivan, or Akvan, otherwise a Snow Man.

[referring then to another book entitled "The Riddles and Demons of Tibet", he went on]:
" On page 344 there is mention of using the blood of Mi-Ge --- that is the Wild Man. By the way, the word Mumeneghe in Kajick [kazhjik] means 'wax from Mi-Ge' and out of this originated, of course, the word that was used before 'Mumer', because it is closer to the Turkoman or Oursbak, or Kirghiz languages. The hypothesis on the origin of Mumer from Mi-Ge throws a light on a whole series of circumstances."

The correspondent then went on to identify an iron-smelting region where once abundant "Akvan" lived. He hypothesized that these smelters produced Mumer on the side as "it was quite a profitable occupation, because each Akvan, when boiled down could produce enough material for some 5000 rubles profit."


The above is a Persian area rendition of an Akvan, portrayed in Persian legend as a demon spiritual being of unfriendly type. Our Wild Man doesn't fit the behavior nor the appearance. But Mi-Ge DOES fit the general concept of an awesome mysterious being. The "Akvan" word could easily have been ported over into central Asia and assigned to Mi-Ge, Yeti, Gul-Biavan, Almas there in some areas.

So what's Mumen anyway? Modern western "Tibetan" medicine persons either feign ignorance or give an obviously wrong answer. The line that they take is that this was a medicine based upon minerals [sorry, that doesn't fit anything], and they base this on the fact that a word "mumen" is a word for {probably, even this isn't certain} Lapis Lazuli. They therefore tinker together several mineral powders including Lapis Lazuli and sell it to you as Mumer/Mumen, the all-curing medicine.

"Mumen" in modern Tibetan means at least two different things: Lapis Lazuli and a Tibetan rodent. Who knows what else it may mean. Tibetan medicine is, as it turns out, rife with the use of body parts of top-of-the-food-pyramid animals. Bears, big cats, yak, even elephant are a few. Using Mi-Ge as part of these potions would certainly fit the culture. I am intrigued by the name of one medicine: "Mig-sMan". It is a potion using Musk and Bear's Bile among other things. Mi-Ge and Mig-sMan ... just a vibe. It is for eye problems. Older thoughts said the Mumen was especially good for ailments of the stomach.

All of this is pretty disgusting to me. The possibility that we enlightened humans could have not merely pressed the Asian Wildman out of existence, but consciously hunted it down for potions, puts me in a bad space where Green Tara's soothing dharmic vibrations are particularly welcome. Along with the minimal research that I did, I found [further destroying my idealism] that although there are proscriptions against killing [especially] wild animals, IF the monasteries really feel that they need such substances for whatever use, there are means of obtaining them.

Literally, "is nothing sacred?"

Sorry to put us through that. Maybe it's important in understanding. Here are some of Mom's doodles of joyful birds to make us all happier.