THE MEDIA IS crowded with UFOs — even if our skies aren’t. There is huge and growing interest in UFOs and aliens, as if, if they’re going to make themselves known at all, it’s now. I have to admit, I’m fascinated by the subject, primarily because of the preponderance of eyewitness testimony. Yet they remain a real mystery because of the lack of real, hard evidence — even a pop-top from an alien can of soda.
So, what are UFOs? What is it people are seeing hovering and darting through the skies and, in some cases, landing and even crashing in remote deserts. Let’s look at the various theories and examine their merits and their weaknesses. And for an expert’s viewpoint, we’ll also elicit the comments of Mystic and Mysteries’s own resident expert on the paranormal, Dr. Franz Ersatz.
From other worlds
That UFOs come from another planet or planets is, of course, by far the most popular idea. Some believers say they even know exactly where they come from — the Zeta Reticuli system in the constellation Reticulum. (And some wackos still say they come from Venus.) How do they know? The ETs told them, naturally. There are a few problems with this theory, in my opinion. The first has to do with the physics: How do they travel the dozens or even hundreds of light-years it takes to get here? Assuming it doesn’t take them dozens or hundreds of years to get here (and this at the speed of light!), physics as we know it can’t explain how they manage it. I can’t even get from Long Island to Manhattan is less than an hour. But let’s assume a superior race can manage it. Then the main problem I have with this theory is in the description of the UFO occupants — the aliens. Although there are many descriptions of them, nearly all describe humanoid or human-like creatures (one head, two arms, two legs, a trunk, two eyes with binocular vision, one mouth — very human-like indeed). What are the chances of that!? How can a creature from a planet across the galaxy resemble humans more than humans resemble other Earth creatures — say, a sea cucumber or Warren Christopher? Unless the two species are related (and there are proponents of this idea, too), the chances of such similarity are astronomical (pardon the pun).
Dr. Ersatz comments: “There is growing evidence that humans and extraterrestrials are, in fact, related. One of the most compelling cases from my files for this theory comes from a contactee in Simkin, Iowa, who claimed to have frequent conversations with two aliens who persistently tried to borrow money from him. Sounds like a relative to me.”
How can a creature from a planet across the galaxy resemble humans more than humans resemble other Earth creatures — say, a sea cucumber?
From another time
One way to get around the time and distance problem and the resemblance problem is to say that they are time travelers from our own future Earth. (We have met the aliens, and they are us.) If so, they need some kind of time machine. But what they seem to have is some kind of space ship. Is it both? I guess if we can make combination can openers/blenders, they can make combination space ships/time machines. But can their device make a banana smoothie? If they are from the future, aren’t they worried about messing up the time continuum — the whole if-we-change-the-past-we-might-change-the-future paradox? And if they are from the future, we have some pretty sorry-looking descendants.
Dr. Ersatz comments: “I don’t buy this idea. If they are from the future, why don’t we see them playing Lotto (they must know the numbers), or doing something beneficial for the future of the Earth — like preventing Michael Bolton from making another album?”
From another dimension
The idea that the aliens come from another dimension or plane of existence is growing in popularity — mainly to explain their ability (as many contactees and abductees claim) to enter buildings unseen, pass through walls and other neat tricks that defy explanation. But some of the same questions arise: How can a being from another dimension so closely resemble us? And if they are able to zip in and out of our dimension, at any time and place that they want, why to they need spacecraft? And do they use this ability to sneak into movies for free? Some abduction proponents believe the aliens are after our DNA, for cross-breeding purposes. How could our DNA — the product of specialized evolution on this planet — possibly be compatible with that of a being from another dimension, if such a being would even have DNA?
Dr. Ersatz comments: “I work with many abductees, and I don’t believe the aliens are after our DNA at all. The needles, the removal of skin samples and reproductive material … this is all a diversion. You’ll note that in every abduction case, the victims are stripped of their clothing while the aliens perform their ‘experiments.’ What’s really happening is, the aliens are taking the clothing into a back room and copying the designs. They then make cheap knock-offs and peddle them at bargain prices on backwater planets. It’s a fashion rip-off scheme. Right now, I’ll bet there are entire planets in the Betelgeuse system full of poor slobs wearing imitation Calvin Kleins and Reeboks — probably in terrible colors.”
“The needles, the removal of skin samples and reproductive material … this is all a diversion.”
From the military
Many people think that UFOs are no more than top-secret experimental military aircraft. And no doubt, many of the sightings are of just that. Until the stealth bomber and fighter were unveiled a few years ago, these were very likely mistaken for extraterrestrial craft. It’s likely, then, that there are other as-yet undisclosed military craft in our skies that people identify as flying saucers. The weakness in this idea for all UFOs is that the flight characteristics of many UFOs — as reported by eyewitnesses and captured on video — are completely beyond what we know our aircraft are capable of. The stealth aircraft are primitive by comparison. It’s possible that military engineers have come up with radically new technology, but it’s unlikely. (They could barely shoot down Saddam’s SCUD missiles.) The offshoot of this idea is that some UFOs are military craft — but based on alien technology recovered from crashes, such as the legendary one at Roswell. There’s a whole corollary myth in ufology that the aliens are allowing our military to study their technology in exchange for allowing the aliens to abduct citizens for their own purposes. Sheesh! This stuff gets more and more convoluted.
It’s likely that there are other as-yet undisclosed military craft in our skies that people identify as flying saucers.
Dr. Ersatz comments: “It’s all nonsense. I happened to interview Bob Lazar, the guy who says he worked near Area 51 and saw the recovered alien disks. He’s full of it. I’ll admit, he had me going when he related how he saw the strange control panels, hieroglyphics, and the small seats for the small, four-foot aliens. But he lost me when he further described a corner of the ship where there stood a tiny Coke machine and an ATM that dispensed what looked like Monopoly money.”
From our own minds
Many skeptics think UFOs are nothing more than mass hallucinations. Quite simply, this doesn’t explain the UFOs captured on video. Many of these are undoubtedly hoaxes, but some are more compelling and not so easy to explain — most notably the video shot of the UFOs over Mexico City within the last few years (see photo). What were those things?
Dr. Ersatz comments: “The only verifiable case of mass hallucination I have in my files is when, just a few years ago, thousands of people actually thought Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were serious.”
Oh, yes. Many fundamentalist Christians believe that UFOs and aliens are nothing less than the work of Lucifer himself. They believe that this work is a deception by Satan in these end times, and is a prelude to the coming of the Antichrist, the advent of Armageddon and the final battle between Lucifer and God’s angels. Will it be a battle of spaceships? Why not? It’s as good a fantasy as any. For more information on this far-out idea, you must visit The Watcher, an amazing site that brilliantly combines UFOs and aliens, abductions, crop circles, the “face on Mars,” the recent finding of possible life on Mars, comet Hale-Bopp, astrology, Egyptian pyramids and modern Israel with the Biblical prophecies in Revelation into a cohesive plot! Wow! It’s great fun!
Many fundamentalist Christians believe that UFOs and aliens are nothing less than the work of Lucifer himself.
Dr. Ersatz comments: “I have one abduction case in my files that bears out the alien-devil connection. Lillian M., in 1986, claims she was taken by these alien creatures from her kitchen at two in the morning. The creatures told her they were going to transport her to the depths of Hell. The woman described her destination as a pleasant restaurant — but that only served Spam and artichokes, and had Kathie Lee Gifford singing in the background.”
The flip side of the above is a theory that says aliens are gods and angels. In other words, these aliens have been visiting our tiny planet for thousands of years, and our ancestors — as gullible as they were — mistook these beings who descended from the skies in “flaming chariots” as messengers of God — or God himself. Proponents of this idea contend that the aliens are our keepers — that they may have seeded this planet with us and have been prodding us along in our slow evolution. Was the God of Abraham and Moses an alien who spoke to them from a mother ship? Was Jesus an alien? (You can read all about this concept at UFOs and the Bible which points out a lot of the UFO imagery in the Bible.) This is further proof that people believe whatever they want, without letting facts, logic or common sense get in their way. This fantasy, of course, is just a sci-fi version of Genesis — which itself is fable and myth.
Dr. Ersatz comments: “Actually, there’s a ton of documentary evidence to show that Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (Messner) are aliens.”
There are dozens of other theories, but without any real evidence, they all amount to speculation and fantasy. But UFOs remain a tantalizing mystery, one that deserves serious investigation. Unfortunately, it’s the UFO buffs themselves with their wild speculation, outright deception and plain old stupidity who do more harm to the study of the phenomenon and to muddy the waters than do the die-hard skeptics. Roswell is the perfect example. Maybe something extraordinary happened there, and probably it didn’t. But there’s been so much nonsense coming out of the “UFO community” about the alleged crash that we’ll probably never know — or be convinced of — the truth.