Friday, June 26, 2020
SUMMA FAERYOLOGICA, part one
I suppose that the honest way to begin these last few posts is to simply admit that I'm prejudiced. I'd REALLY like this forbidden topic to have some "external reality" about it. That is: it is not we humans just making it all up, by whatever conscious or unconscious means our own anomalous minds are capable of. But I can't fool myself into thinking this or that without giving the quest a genuine try. The difference between reading Diarmuid MacManus and Charles de Lint is starkly clear to me. So, several years ago, stimulated by wonder and also the peculiar thought that some were pushing that my own favorite anomaly (UFOs) was "just" Faery in modern dress, I started that quest.
The first thing that I noticed on this quest was that it wasn't going to be anywhere as orderly nor robust-in-credible encounters as searching out UFOs. For every investigated fairy incident there were probably a thousand such UFO incidents. Even if I admitted (as I did) that the proper way to compare the relative richness of credible information between the two would be to compare the fairy cases to UFO Close Encounters, the overabundance on the UFO side is still hundreds to one. But the path was through this forest, so why not just go and see what, if anything, was there?
Was there a hypothesis to use as an intellectual clarifying guide? In UFOlogy, the proper hypothesis is this:
"Is there supporting evidence for the existence of advanced aerial technology in our atmosphere which exhibits characteristics beyond those of which we humans (Military, Scientists, et al) were capable of at the time of the incidents' occurrence?"
When one phrases the "UFO question" like that (note that there is no mention of aliens, extraterrestrials, nor any causal agency --- you have to add that into your own head if you want to), the serious UFO researcher can almost SHOUT out a robust "YES!!!" Is there any such Faery hypothesis like this?
To create such a statement one would have to know at least something about that word "Faery" wouldn't one? And then one would have to take the tempting causal agencies out of the hypothetical research question. As, at least originally, a stone-ignorant rookie, I couldn't yet do that.
The above pictures are a small part of what had to happen in order to attempt any slight comprehension of an anomalous field as complicated as UFOs. I had to really immerse for a long time to even hope for any clarity. As I said, the great quality of the cases helped me make little progress, but it was the immersion in the literature that --- well, this isn't "scientific", but when you do that, you begin to get an intuitive feeling for the whatever-it-is. So, particularly here in the pursuit of Faery, my only real hope for an approach was to just dive into all of the literature and hope for the intuitions to come. So, this I did.
By the way, as soon as I got really into the readings, the most powerful impression that anyone should get (in my opinion) is that it is flat clear to the reader when one is reading a "fairy tale" like an elaborate around-the-peat-fire story vs a straightforward encounter incident. Both of these types of "tales" appear within the same covers of most of these books. Thankfully the separation of these stories is easy --- maybe the only easy thing about this research project.
As those of you know who have been reading the previous (how many were there?) postings in the blog , the result of all of that immersion was The Leprecat. Leprecat (The Little People Case Catalog) had ten three-ring notebooks of encounter claims. Within those pages were about 500 case references. Added to that, The Fairy Census of Simon Young chipped in with 600 case claims. Janet Bord's book contributed more, etc etc. Though some of this overlapped, this journey encompassed over a thousand claims. Even then, it paled in comparison with my own UFO files (about 4000 SELECTED reports and good ones generally) plus CUFOS' files and the USAF Project Blue Book cases et al. But reading "just"a thousand claims is not "just" nothing. I'm not embarrassed about only reading a thousand claims. But before I start throwing out soft "conclusions", I just want every reader to know from where such comments are coming. The resource base is not ideal, but maybe just enough. (Of course reading the earlier blog posts would also help anyone to better understand. :=} )
DO CREDIBLE CASES EXIST IN ENOUGH NUMBERS TO INDICATE THAT THERE IS A REAL ANOMALY HERE?
I assessed all of these claims with my UFO researcher cap on, and came up with 50-52 cases (not including things like Black Fairy Dog claims) which I felt deserved my confidence that they were reported honestly, accurately, trustworthily. They had at least some levels of investigation/ interview, and knowledge of witness that bespoke Credibility. That is not a huge number out of all of those thousand or so claims. But, and here comes the first of the feeling-immersion statements: that amount of credible cases is enough for me. Those "fifty" cases are not only impressive to me, but they also match a very much larger pile of cases which, though they lack the strict bona fides which a researcher desires, in their accumulation they add to my confidence that we have a legitimate anomaly here and one which has persisted for many centuries. That's a big claim by me, but it's how reading all of those leprecat reports feels. I wouldn't stand in front of a typical academic meeting and defend too much of this to-the-death, but in front of a sympathetic audience I think I'd have the courage to do it.
The "50" more acceptable case reports turn out to serve as a foundational core for perhaps a couple hundred more which have no real red flags from the claimants, and which fit well in detail and behavior with the original 50. It takes faith, but there may well be a big enough pile of these claims to support some type of reality.
WHAT REALITY? DO THE CASES INDICATE THAT THE EXPERIENCES TAKE PLACE OUTSIDE THE "IMAGINATION?"
The answer here is the same sort of cautious "Yes." Once one accepts the assertion that witnesses are generally honest in attempting to describe their experiences, then answering this next question is pretty straightforward. This is because many of these incidents are witnessed by multiple witnesses AND at very close range. It requires a VERY flexible and hard-to-buy counter hypothesis to assert that multiple persons have the same up-close "hallucinations" or other weird mental quirks simultaneously. I realize that debunkers love to put out speculative B.S. like this, but if the human race was THIS prone to serious detachment from reality, I do not think we would have made it this far.
When the University of Colorado's "Scientific Study of UFOs" was funded by the US Air Force in 1966-69, it was faced with the similar problem of assessing "reality" for that subject. The de facto project administrator, Robert Low (picture to our left), thought hard about how to proceed.
He made the remarkable statement that the UFO problem was really a nested set of three questions: 1. Do credible cases exist to indicate that there is a true anomaly here? and 2. Do cases exist that indicate that the aforementioned anomaly is "externally real", i.e. the subject matters exist outside the mere images in the human reporters' minds? Low said that he already had seen enough evidence to answer both of these questions "YES."
The third question was: Are these UFOs "extraterrestrial?" On that he felt that such an answer was too far removed from science's methods to allow any honest response.
If I stand beside Bob Low (which I would consider an honor), and substitute "Faery Folk" for UFO in the three nested questions, I will answer the questions in the same way that he did. "Faery Folk" claims, whatever their deeper reality base, are a justified anomaly, and whatever-this-is is "externally based." BUT what the deeper agency is which lies underneath these encounters, must remain a question.
If the audience will allow me to stop my assertions at that point, then I'll acknowledge my further ignorance BUT MAKE SOME SOFTER SUGGESTIONS about the deeper realities which could underlie this stuff. This is where the "Immersion Intuitions" take over from the more cautious approach.
THE REMAINING QUESTIONS IN THIS AREA.
These are some of the ideas that I'd like to foist upon you in the rest of this post and the next:
1. What do the witnesses see as far as the entities and their behaviors are concerned?
2. Is there any substantial change in entities and behaviors across the decades?
3. Are the entities winged?
4. What did the Olde People of the old cultures think that these things were?
5. If really pushed, what would I say that my own preferred hypothesis was?
6. Do I think that Faery and UFOs are the same thing, or even closely resemble each other?
I'm going to leave off this post with the entity galleries from the cases that I felt had stronger investigation/credibility. Staring at them for a bit sort of answers some of the questions above. I'll have more to say about each of the questions next time, but for now --- the fun of the pictures will do.
Till next time ....
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- A Different Perspective
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- Robert G. Jahn, Ph.D.
- Smithsonian (SIRIS)