Sunday, June 30, 2013

I've Seen THE{?} LIGHT{s}?, post two.

Back at this subject... chaotically.

Mark Fox's book is a good one. Despite being less than 200pp long, it's filled with a huge variety of topics, which makes commentary and supplementation on something like a blog close to impossible. We're going to have to put up with both incompleteness and a bit of disorder. But the fact that these ARE subjects of interest will help you forgive those flaws I pray.

I think that beginning with an [incomplete] array of included topics might help understanding here. Fox's book covers his findings from the Religious Experience Research Centre {RERC} files in the following areas [among others]:

A). Lights associated with Shamanism, Kundalini, Buddhism, and Christianity;
B). Lights associated with Mysticism;
C). Lights as Angels;
D). Lights as BOLs in bedrooms, which convey some significance;
E). Lights associated with Near-Death Experiences {NDEs};
F). Lights associated with Marian Apparitions;
G). Lights with folkloric linkages;
H). Lights experienced by multiple witnesses;
I). Lights experienced alone;
J). Lights which enfold the witness, or infuse through the witness;
K). Strange illumination of areas large and small;
M). Lights associated with "visions";
N). Strange beams or rays of light;
O). Strange flashes of light.

These categories, sometimes overlapping, are what stood out to me, and they are often chapters or subheadings in the book. Of the 400 cases studied, the category "unusual lightforms experienced solitarily" constitute the greatest number {86}, and with all of our UFO-type history, this comes as no surprise, whether any of this has anything to do with core UFOs or not.

To "progress" on this [I'm using "progress" with a LOT of humility], I'm going to stagger down through the above list and just try to give you some interesting tastes of these things.

Though it is far from my deeper knowledge base in UFOs and folkloric entities and BOLs et al, I'm going to start with a phenomenon that interested Fox greatly --- what we might call an "infusion" of light, possibly even leading to an eruption from the person infused. Fox gives almost a page to this interesting claim by a modern-day famous practitioner of Kundalini Yoga, Gopi Krishna.

It is a tenant of Kundalini practice that meditation brings about transformations of consciousness, and that these transformative moments are accompanied by spectacular experiences of light phenomena [whether this is purely "internal" or can be witnessed by others is a point of scientific interest, but perhaps not the real point of such illumination for the individual]. Gopi Krishna said this about such a personal moment:

"Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal chord. Entirely unprepared for such a development, I was completely taken by surprise; but regaining self-control instantaneously, I remained sitting in the same posture, keeping my mind on the point of concentration. The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder. I experienced a rocking sensation and felt myself slipping outside of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light. It is impossible to describe the experience accurately."

GK goes on to speak of his consciousness "spreading wider" while his body receded. As his body became insignificant, his consciousness seemed immersed in a Sea of Light, which took on the nature of a general consciousness into which his own individual consciousness lost its individuality in any ego-centered way, but was rather in some profound communion. For him it was "a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe".

I vaguely recall, long ago in the late seventies or early eighties, once listening to Gopi Krishna speak in person. At the time he seemed to me to be an unorthodox Hindu. He seemed almost "experimental" or semi-scientific in nature, as if exploring this business without too much dogma [though there was some of that]. His view, if memory serves, seemed to be: "I believe what I've found". Now, whether that was/is legit I can't say; but it seemed a bit more open-minded than most.

GKs experience seems to me the experience of mystics worldwide when they achieve the relatively selfless, total communion state that IS the "mystic experience". So, I doubt that this requires a very precise "recipe" of contemplation or meditation type --- but I am no mystic so what do I know?

There were quite a few examples where the claimed light phenomena were associated with Christian themes of course. Prominent stories like the "bolt from the blue" which knocked Saul off his anti-Christian "horse" and turned him 180 degrees into an early fanatic for the movement were featured as context materials. Somewhat more modern incidents like Fatima were likewise. Fatima, as most of you know, has been fingered by theorists such as Vallee as a UFO series of events [though I don't see it myself, the Spinning Sun and a few other lightball-like observations seem to give it a justified place among Fox's mysteries --- just not as "core UFO"].

There was a conversion story in the RERC files which Fox thought significant enough to tell. There was a young follower of Hinduism who was [counter to Hindu principles] rather violent towards Christians. He was a stone-thrower and a Bible-burner. But this fellow obviously had deeper issues, as, once he had become disenchanted by his own religion, he began to become suicidal. After a 3am awakening, he challenged the Universe with: "O God, if there is a God, wilt thou show me the right way or I will kill myself". As a Hindu, poor one that he was, he still thought that if he killed himself he'd go back into the Wheel-of-Life and come out for another [better?] try.

So, he was praying for a sign to go on or literally go out and lie on the railroad tracks. An hour and a half into this weird prayer session this happened:

"In the room where I was praying, I saw a great light. I thought that the place was on fire. I looked around, but could find nothing. Then the thought came to me --- 'Jesus Christ is not dead but living, and it must be He Himself'. So I fell at His feet and got this wonderful Peace which I could not get anywhere else. This is the joy I was wishing to get. This was Heaven itself. When I got up, the vision had all disappeared; but although the vision disappeared the Peace and Joy have remained with me ever since."

Though this technique of threatening the Universe with your own suicide seemed to work for this guy, I'd seriously not recommend it. My version of Jesus said: Blessed are they who have NOT seen, yet have believed. Still, Fox's point is that this was a transformative experience involving an anomalous light manifestation.

Fox speaks of various mystics and scholars of the Mystic Experience, and these situations often involve anomalous light. One of the most famous is Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard says of her experiences:

"This light which I see is not located, but yet is more brilliant than the Sun, nor can I examine its height, length, or breadth, and I name it ' The cloud of the living light'. And, as Sun, Moon, and Stars are reflected in water, so the writings, sayings, virtues, and works of men shine in it before me.
"Sometimes I behold within this light another light which I name The Living Light itself. And when I look upon it, every sadness and pain vanishes from my memory, so that I am again as a simple maid and not an old woman".

Oliver Sachs, the brain health psychologist [and an atheist], has decided that Hildegard's visions are nothing but migraines. Ummmmm..... yes...... every sadness and pain vanishing in the midst of a migraine....... very sufficient hypothesis.

Fox also had many incidents from the RERC which the percipients identified as Angel Encounters. [As this enjoyed a remarkable flourish of interest not long ago, readers seeking more tonnage of case reports can purchase some of the recent books which collect them. Fox seems to like Emma Heathcote-James' Seeing Angels [a book that I do not own, but I believe that I was hunting once], and my own mediocre resources contain a book [Meetings with Angels by HC Moolenburgh], which seems pretty good to me.

Most of these experiences contain, almost by definition, "beings of light" and many do not look like the angels of mediaeval/renaissance paintings, but merely as communicating lightforms. Readers of the blog may also remember the case from the Timmerman files, where a BOL repeatedly forced an Alaskan wilderness policeman into the lefthand lane while he was driving on an emergency late at night. Suddenly a moose appeared in the normal righthand lane just around a curve. The trooper's position in the "wrong" lane was all that saved him. He interpreted this BOL experience as angel protection.

And to illustrate the endless convolution inherent in all these matters, long ago [1975], Billy Graham wrote a book describing UFOs as "Angels" and "God's Secret Agents". No doubt THAT blew several tires on the Rightwing Christian Juggernaut at the time.

One angel story from RERC and then quit for the day:

The incident reporter's great-grandmother was in her last days. Visiting her were her two daughters, the reporter's grandmother and grand-aunt. The two daughters were walking together well away from the house, commiserating with each other about their mom's impending passing, when suddenly appearing before them were two shining winged people escorting another person away. Though the vision was short, it was indelibly burned into both women's memory. On their way returning to the home, they learned that their mother had just passed into the afterlife.

If it was a UFO experience, we would say: High credibility [multiple witnesses], and High strangeness [no need to defend that].

So.... where do YOU think that this is leading? Just Out Proctor??

Till next time folks ... I promise you, I don't know.


  1. I've wondered many time if UFOs and NDEs are related somehow.

    After a week of enormous stress and bizarre anomalous experiences in my 30s I had a kundalini-type NDE. Before that I had had multiple 'high strangeness' UFO experiences. I ended up going back to college shortly after the NDE/kundalini experience to write about it all, hoping I would figure it out.

    In retrospect, I wouldn't say getting another degree sorted anything out at all, but it did give me something to do while my brain and life rearranged itself rather dramatically. I'm 60 now and less prone to any of these phenomena, which is only to say it has been years since I've had a direct experience. Sometimes I think finding the answer is not the point of these experiences at all. The point is to get us to ask new questions. I think we undervalue a deep appreciation for mystery, and so few of us cultivate that.

    Thanks so much for you blog. I enjoy it muchly. :)

    1. Ken Ring's book, The Omega Project, is almost entirely on that subject. I know Ken from the days when I edited the Journal of UFO Studies [where he published a long article on this], and Ken is a VERY good scholarly mind.

  2. The billy graham's book about angels as God's secret agents, which i read a long time ago in local translation, never mentioned anything about angels as UFO. though i heard that Billy Graham allegedly theorized that UFO (or some UFO manifestations) might be angels from God. Personally i disagree with BG on his UFO theories.

    1. .......pages 21-22. [and follow-on comment elsewhere].

      And, you're welcome to disagree with Billy Graham, but merely asserting that you do on a publicly readable blog adds very little to the discussion. It has been a distressing [to me] aspect of the modern [almost anti-true-communication] internet that people feel that informing everyone else what they feel/believe with no useful factual analysis, added data, nor thought process is a service [or even interest] to the rest of us.

      The only "violation" of the concern of mine {for actually "bringing something to the table"} which I honor, is asking questions in collegial ways, so that people who know answers can continue to serve the greater good by [humbly] presenting possible answers. Such questions, on this blog, are often answered by persons other than myself, so I'm not in "Tyrant Mode".

      I'm trying to live by this here. My hopes are to present lots of data and claimed encounters with the anomalous, while not merely stating declarative beliefs with no discernible base. In that way, readers might be better able to assess my BS [or anyone else's] and get on with their own growing vision of the extent of reality.

    2. you misread my intention in posting and im not that good in stating my intention due to limited written english skill.

      My post related to billy graham doesnt concern my own objection/opinion but my correct wording/content should be related to the impact of BG's UFO statement on other Christians who are not well read in UFO phenomena. Billy graham , one of the great Christian icon of modern times and a lot of people trust him. but in the case of his UFO interpretation it is very dangerous biblically to attribute UFO phenomena to God's angels. In fact it is dangerous to automatically attribute any paranormal phenomena to God before checking it (as im sure you know the Nible has a standard procedure on checking whether any paranormal phenomena is from God or not).

      No intention to disparage billy graham or anyone else

    3. I'm no follower of Billy Graham, though I generally respect him much more than insane persons like Pat Robertson, who said that anyone who has had a UFO encounter was an associate of Satan and should be publicly stoned in the street.

      All I think that I should say at this point though is that Billy Graham's book on Angels is much better thought out than you make it sound, and he does not seem to me to be "automatically attributing" anything, and to leave the blog's readers with that impression is inappropriate.

  3. Prof
    I apologize for the lack of edits below. google ate my question

    I am reminded karla turner pressed for 'scrutiny of the intentions of these beings' agenda' during her final years. She also gave some 'case studies' of the high strange, non benevolent kind.

    'Like a flashlight beam' or perhaps more like a laser pointer toying wit a cat.
    Vallee did a rough calculation on how many treks spacemen would be making if their intention was NOT to display specifically for witnesses (ie a 24/7 caravan of space bros.) The numbers were of course, huge to a nonsensical degree-Not a compelling argument, but thought provoking.

    Would you agree this topic cries out for an approach of ripe with even greater suspicion than of just frauds and fools, as I feel as I grow in years and jadedness?

    Lastly, if you are not already, you may appreciate Jason H of Auticulture's cool and odd work on the topic, specifically relating to strieber and generally the idea of a UFO / mind control connection @
    All the best

    1. Dr. Tim, please forgive me for not getting into this. This stuff is extremely complex and very opaque --- any blog-comment-answer I'd give would be automatically insufficient and off-base.

      Also, because of the many friends that I have had [and some still] WHOM I LARGELY DISAGREE WITH, I'll probably never get into this morass on the blog. One of my bottom lines here is: this area of whatever-it-is can eat your life and you never know anything (really) at the end of the trail --- or if you think that you do, you've been catastrophically fooled.

      I refuse to spend much time chasing that pixy. I don't even find the subject much fun.

      p.s. I addressed my take on Vallee's Numbers of Visits concept a long while back on the blog. The Law-of-the-Times is real, but Jacques interpretation of it is not the only one and has at least two non-obvious assumptions.

      I have no idea what to make of Karla Turner, and certainly would not lean very hard on such "data".

      I'll try to read Auticulture.



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