UFO Conjecture(s)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Old UFOs vs New UFOs

Earlier here we’ve posted a view about the evolution of UFOs.

But there seems to be a rather abrupt change in how the phenomenon appears to observers.

During older periods with “historical” references to UFOs, the things either took persons up in the heavens (Enoch, Elijah), inter-acted with humans (Ezekiel), or fought in the skies (the vimanas of ancient India, the Basel, Switzerland battle of 1566).





While there is a lacuna of sorts after that Basel sighting, UFOs appeared as mysterious dirigible-like airships in the 1890s, with sporadic sightings of disk-shaped “craft” up to the 1950s, when UFOs or flying saucers were almost ubiquitous.



See this paper about the 1954 UFO wave – a PDF.

Saucers were debarking creatures:


Saucers were, allegedly, shooting ray guns at observers and abducting them or giving them rides into outer space:


Saucers were skirting the airways of Earth with pronounced chutzpah:


Then a UFO drought began, in the late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, until today when UFOs appear as triangular or rectangular craft, never descending to the ground, never exuding beings or creatures of any kind, and never coming into proximity with humans.


What has happened to the phenomenon? Why the alterations in appearance and behavior?


  • Nothing like a simple question and my comments can only be termed suspicions..complex, layered and seemingly obtuse.
    I suspect our semiotic metaphors for unknown aerial phenomenon... in the form of anticipatory expectations.. as related to macro-quantum effects of entangled ( observer and observed) phenomenon.. that are solely based on cultural stereotypes ( an aggregate sum) of a species "dreams"..

    I think perhaps these are living creatures not objects, using a form of energetic ,natural camouflage..which was originally proposed by Ivan Sanderson.

    I suspect they are as sensate as the avian flock and consequently as interested in our fates as proverbial parakeets.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Bruce:

    Insofar as God is impervious to us humans, I suspect that your UFO-disguised entities are similarly inclined, as you note.

    But there was a time, as I indicate (loosely), when this wasn't the case.

    What happened? Why did God abandon us? And why did your UFO-critters?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • To me in this late stage in the game, I realize we are contingent on the purpose of a purposeless universe. This sounds contradictory.
    The purpose of the universe in my reality tunnel is a process of developing purpose and meaning through reciprocal relationships, and so when you refer to being abandoned, what has been neglected?
    We live in a membrane where all the utilities have been provided and as a process of becoming, would it not be a mistake to grant an eternity to "something" as of yet, unfinished. Contingency is the path of growth in this universe within my reality tunnel. Our purpose as in that of the universe is one and the same, a reciprocal development of self awareness, forms as a process within a spectrum.One is tied to the other in developing meaning, dependent on what I suspect is a form of memory the outer environment if you will possesses. Nothing is lost in this eternal recycling and innovation. At a point of deep introspection I suspect this dynamic is like the proverbial UFO. As a philosophic marker, I also suspect the same incommensurable nature of the UFO belays what Wilson would call naive realities as comparisons of relationships. The point being there is nothing unnatural in nature and as a living system,call them creatures who are literally and metaphysically above us whose concerns with us are not personal. They cannot develop meaning for us. I suggest that it is we who are to be feared, hence the development of natural camouflage.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Why the alterations and changes in behavior? In my view, much of the phenomenon is visionary in nature, and thus lacking in actual physical reality.

    That's why so many UFO events seem staged - such as aliens seen time and again taking "soil-samples" from the side of the road, etc etc.

    It's a stage-managed vision provoked by the intelligence behind the phenomenon, and it's changes in style and design of craft and crew reflect subconscious, personal beliefs, concepts and ideas re how aliens should appear. Thus, the phenomenon responds to the beliefs of this period or that period and manifests accordingly.

    Something - which may or may not be literally extraterrestrial - is provoking vision-like experience in certain people - sometimes at a profoundly personal level - to provoke change and a response. Or to have us believe it is extraterrestrial. Or all of that.

    The big question is why?

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Bruce:

    You tend in my direction but I'm persuaded by Teilhard de Chardin's hypothesis/theology that we are elements (atoms, molecules, cells, whatever) in the Mystical Body of Christ and if we err or sin, it's like a cancer besetting Christ.

    Thus UFOs may be likened to antibodies or virii infecting that same body.

    For persons who dislike the "divine" attributes of Teilhard -- persons like our buddy Nick Redfern -- they can take the argument and rework the "religious" aspects so that we are not part of Christ but, rather, part of a Universal force or energy level, that doesn't comprehend or care but which is affected by our "observations" and being. We are quantum quarks as it were.


    You conceptial view gives the phenomenon a status that is a little more limited than what Teilhard or I am suggesting or what Bruce is suggesting.

    Either way, you may be closer to the truth, as UFOs seem to be inconsequential when it comes right down to it.

    They haven't impacted humanity, except for the few hobbyists who've adopted the phenomenon as their "profound" proclivity.

    For normal human beings, UFOs mean nothing, have nothing to do with their practical existence, and are meaningless in the great scheme of things.

    So UFOs play with a few goofy humans, who keep the phenomenon alive by interacting with it, mentally and otherwise, while the rest of humanity goes about its business and lives, unencumbered by the damn things.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Maybe a little more dramatic license back in the olde days.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Another aspect perhaps is the mindset moving from a (if you will) an anthropomorphic projection of sentience and one that evolved into one is focused our own creations ( ie flying craft) as a "natural" and yet consistently, without missing a heartbeat, creates variants of a transcendent habitation of the atmosphere. Of course both are reflected back as stereotypes.
    I think we agree more than disagree what you call a cancer, or a cellular disorder,I would say is an extension of a decidedly "human" disease. that is more of a branch than a root in scale. I think it boils down to where the focus is, on ourselves or the transcendent as we tend to separate them as a binary which is silly because everything I am aware of tells me we are the very definition of contingent, yet we manage to be poor stewards as if we rule the roost.Yet, fortunately, it is not an anthropomorphic universe.

    Thank God for THAT.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • You're asking big questions here! I listen to the radio shows and interviews from the 50s and 60s (thanks to Wendy Connors et al) and the urgency is tangible.

    Physical craft, physical interactions, physical evidence in radar towers and audio from AFBs.

    From the arrival of 'Foo Fighters' in the early '40s, it was like humanity had somehow kicked a metaphorical ants nest and our skies buzzed with activity. It was distinctive, unique in flavour and justified the speculation of 'visitors from other worlds.' 'Nuts and bolts' was an obvious interpretation.

    Here we all are in 2011, with varying degrees of compulsion, discussing a phenomena that has changed so much that all that 50s/60s certainty has become ephemera.

    What happened to kick-start the activity and what caused the change since the late 70s?

    Big questions, fascinating possibilities and yet all the answers put forward are subjective, equivocal and insubstantial.

    Damn UFOs have gone post-modern...the SOBs!

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • I think Old vs New UFOs are a lot like what Nick relates: the phenomenon manifesting via the current cultural filters.

    However, I don't think it's wise to ignore one of the biggest issues with paranormal phenomena - the verbal or written language to accurately describe it.

    Language has always been a stumbling block, and I see no reason to exclude the paranormal from that.

    It could be (and in some cases seems very much to be) that ancient peoples did in fact see the same things we see today. Some relate much more artful descriptions such as soldiers in the sky, etc. This could be nothing but metaphoric descriptions that could be related easily.

    I have to emphasize it's not my favorite way to look at it, but I don't think that angle can be discarded.

    By Blogger JR, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Okay, fellows....

    You, like me, have your interpretation(s).

    But it's palpable that UFOs today are nowhere as spectacular as they once were.

    Even if sightings were once hoaxed or conjured from overly vivid imaginations, one has to admit that UFOs today are not flying saucers and there are no occupants or bizarre behavior (landings, and that soil sampling that Nick mentions).

    Something significant about the damn things has changed, inherently and at the root of the phenomenon.

    It may be us, as Bruce indicates, or it's something else.

    Making cavalier asides, as we are all wont to do, doesn't address the observation I'm making with this post: the phenomenon is operating differently now from how it had in the past.



    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • I don't think any of our hypotheses can explain the 'WHY' question.

    Psycho-social, ETH and whatever else might just touch on accurate interpretations.

    It's the proverbial 'cross to bear' that implies no answers in our lifetimes.

    The Klass curse was a childish tantrum sourced in spite, but the guy probably had a point...

    To ufologists who publicly criticize me, ... or who even think unkind thoughts about me in private, I do hereby leave and bequeath:

    No matter how long you live, you will never know any more about UFOs than you know today. You will never know any more about what UFOs really are, or where they come from. You will never know any more about what the U.S. Government really knows about UFOs than you know today. As you lie on your own death-bed you will be as mystified about UFOs as you are today. And you will remember this curse."

    Half-joking :)

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Phil Klass, Kandinsky, could be an ass, as you know, and did some bad things -- haven't we all?

    But he wasn't stupid, and his "curse" has so far been borne out.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Klass' words have indeed proved correct thus far. But, in my view, they were born less out of some sort of informed enlightenment about the nature of the phenomenon, but out of a desire to piss off a community he hated and sneered at.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Perhaps ironically, his bullshittery indicates an acknowledgement that the UFO enigma was more than temperature inversions and superior mirages of Venus reflected off Saturn?

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Bullshittery?


    Klass may have been a devil incarnate, but you always knew where he stood when it came to UFOs.

    No sighting was legitimate as he saw it, so one could discount his skeptical oeuvre altogether.

    He was anti-UFO from the outset so one didn't have to figure out what his position was once he took on a case -- to demolish it.

    One can deal with that kind of "enemy."

    It's the sneaky guys -- in the military and government agencies --that one has to be cautious about when they say something.

    Klass, at least, gave you a show.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • I see Klass differently, naturally.

    He worked super hard to find a solution for UFO's. He revised his opinion and falsified his own theories (unheard of among UFO enthusiasts).

    In the end, I suppose he had seen enough of the dumbassery that makes up the field to be entitled to his cynical opinion of the chaff that mostly makes up the recorded evidence.

    I spoke to him on many occasions and he never discarded a case on any grounds other than the evidence (as he saw it).

    And look at where we are now. The same lackluster place as 1947--just as full of charlatans, hucksters, sincere searchers and clueless clodhoppers.

    Same as it ever was.


    By Blogger Lance, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • It might be something as trivial as the sophistication of the viewer; Ezekiel in his day and a NASA scientist like Paul hill in his time. Obviously they would report the presence of UFOs in different ways.
    If the objects in question are actually ET in origin, perhaps there occupants have merely changed their mission profile for reasons that seem best to them.
    A good example would be our own moon exploration. We sent unmanned probes, then manned probes, finally landed, and then never went back.

    By Blogger gleaner63, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Kandinsky has really hit something amongst some interesting ideas - this ever evolving phenomenon refuses to die despite the heroic efforts of some like Dr. Klass to murder it. By the way, the curse of Klass applies to many areas of scientific inquiry. I never worry about running short of questions or stay up late at night concerned about obtaining the final verdict in my research area - I know it won't be had even if I live a very long time.

    But I must confess that I do harbor a deep fear of Dr. Klass; more accurately encountering a new incarnation of the man. Perhaps he was the type of enemy ufologists knew and could deal with, but to someone like me such an adversary is dangerous and could represent professional death. You see, the evidence suggests Dr. Klass was deft at the behind-the-scenes subterfuge that can sink a career, ruin a reputation and submerge good work. A person so inclined is poison in its purest form to academic science. May Dr. Klass rest in peace (and stay where he is).

    Tyler Kokjohn

    By Blogger calliebuddy, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • On Phillip Klass: someone on here may be able to correct me, but I believe on Art Bell's show one night years ago Klass flatly admitted when questioned that he had interveiwed *none* of the alledged witnesses involved in the Roswell Crash, surely THE case in the annals of UFO history. That hardly sound like someone working "super hard" to solve the UFO mystery, but sounds rather like someone who's already made of their mind. Anyway, just my opinion about Phil Klass.

    By Blogger gleaner63, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Lance:

    Klass had a mind-set, one where he despised ufologists intruding upon his area of professional expertise: aircraft, aircraft design, and the aero-industry itself.

    He started out refuting flying saucer accounts sensibly but got more rabid as persons such as Friedman barged into the field, along with others who gave credence to sightings which they (those sightings) didn't deserve, as he saw it.

    He then resorted to underhanded tactics to undermine persons, like Friedman, and reworked details to undermine sightings (Socorro for one) in the eyes of media and the public.

    He became buffoonish in the end with his loopy skepticism.

    Yet, he was a lively competitor, even while often acting despicably, in private and publically.

    The UFO rabble made him crazy, as it does us....


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Calliebuddy:

    I wonder what, ultimately, was really behind Klass's hyperskepticism? I wonder sometimes if it really was nothing more than the simple fear that some people have when confronted with the ET question; that we are not alone in the universe, and if we aren't, where does that leave the human race?

    By Blogger gleaner63, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Gleaner:

    See my comment above.

    We have a plethora of newspaper clippings and videos of Klass, in dispute mode with various UFO personalities.

    He was jealous of them. They were stepping into his arena, with goofy interpretations of a popular mystery that only he and his magazine, he thought, had a legitimate right to pursue.

    His explanations became warped by his obtuse efforts to diminish the stature of UFO personages.

    He was qualified to look at UFO sightings, much in the way that Allen Hynek was.

    The difference was that Hynek didn't have any animus to mar his efforts to explain UFO sightings.

    (And let me note that, as usual, we are sidetracked by personalities and their flaws, when it would have been nice to see how you guys explain the disparate UFO panoply that prompted the post above these ungermane comments -- mine own included.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • Going into a little more detail, I think we just need to look at dragon mythology to find a valid comparison. These animals obviously existed, we know them as dinosaurs. But back then folks didn't understand concepts like extinction and they didn't imagine these creatures walked the Earth millions of years before. They found the bones, knew the beasts were significant, legends were born.

    Now we know better and the facts are far more extraordinary than any legendary tale could possibly be. Still, there is truth at the root of the tall dragon tales just like we will eventually find truth at the root of the UFO phenomenon.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, July 08, 2011  

  • "And let me note that, as usual, we are sidetracked by personalities and their flaws, when it would have been nice to see how you guys explain the disparate UFO panoply that prompted the post above these ungermane comments -- mine own included.)"


    Go a few posts up prior to yours. I offered two reasons for the possible change in UFO behaviour :).

    By Blogger gleaner63, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • Gleaner,

    I wasn't singling you out, specifically.

    I was broadbrushing those who love to go off on tangents here, since they don't have their own blogs or sites in which to vent their frustrations.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • I think some of us are trying to point out that we don't know why things changed.

    In extension to my point about an ants nest, is it possible that aerial activity has some correlation?

    It could be speculated that the phenomena tick along quietly(occasional sightings etc) until something disturbs part of their environment. In the early 40s, we put several hundred thousand aircraft into the skies and a large proportion of those were firing at each other. This activity continued through the height of the Cold War and included wars in the Far East. The Space Race ran concurrently with these developments too.

    These time periods roughly align to the bustle of sightings reports and diverse encounters that later tailed off in the 70s.

    This is brazen speculation and not a conclusion or solution. To test the idea would likely require another war on a scale similar to WW2...who cares enough about UFOs to wish for that? Not me.

    In trying different scenarios, this is one that appeals to me.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • K:

    While we argued here, a while back, that UFOs have evolved, I think maybe what we're seeing is a transmogrification of a kind.


    Is it quantum observation or something else, something not so esoteric.

    Conjectures here, including our own, leave much to be desired.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • I think what passes for the UFO phenomenon these days is so different from what people were reporting from the 1940s to the 1970s, that I am inclined to believe whoever or whatever was here 40 to 60 years ago is now gone.

    By Blogger Department 47, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • D47:

    That's what I'm thinking too.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • It's rather amazing that the best and clearest ufo photos were taken for the most part long before the invention of the now ubiquitous cellphone camera. In fact, the current era stands out for the paucity of good photos considering that cameras are everywhere. And the typical "saucer" shape of the 40's, 50's and 60's has nearly become extinct. It's almost as if ufo's deliberately change their form to thwart advancements in our monitoring technology. That aspect of the phenomenom is just as puzzling as almost everything else about them.

    By Blogger solarity, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • Let's consider the possibility that some experiences do not represent the 'primary drama' of the considered 'event', but may be a peripheral or contingent symptom or scenario. Our need to grasp a seeming system of sense experiences with only a minute or fractured amount of information, which we barely or don't know how to categorize in relevance, may lead the act of interpretation to be nothing more than lighting the fuse of a space-time timebomb, our sense of so-called reality being the focus of that conflagration. Of course, that takes the fun out of it. Or adds a whole new dimension of fun to it...
    Certainly, compared to our recent past, we are becoming more sophisticated, as in less fetishized and fantasy prone, to the overt imagery of the phenomena- a process that seems to work both ways, so to speak. But as Nietzsche said, what makes us more profound does not necessarily make us better... And to refuse conclusions, as conclusions are consolations...

    By Blogger RadioFree6EQUJ5, at Saturday, July 09, 2011  

  • So, RadioFree...

    You think something resides at the core of the phenomenon, which eludes us or else we are slavish about the peripheral aspects of the phenomenon, missing its inherent reality therefore.

    That may be true but how does that explain the apparent change in behavior and display of UFOs from then until now?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, July 10, 2011  

  • Dragons,discs,Cigar shaped Zeppelins quasi B1 bombers,are all one in the same to me. It isn't as if this phenomenon recently changed except for the linear time frame we apply to it. When did the dragons drop off to be replaced by shields, scythes and hammers? Its all defensive camouflage, but what was there, is still there whether it is quantum blobs like a higgs boson or a highly improbable airship. The phenomenon changes with context just enough to keep me writing these silly comments on something that remains pervasively mind twisting. Time to walk the dog.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, July 10, 2011  

  • My comment should have taken a more specific incident into account, in retrospect. And I would like to retract that "certainly". I applied it to the comments found here, for the most part. That bomb has exploded in many forums and blogs...
    To confront your question, the answer would require parsing the, not necessarily confronted, specifics of an incident, which we rarely find unless we do such research ourselves. I allude to the fact that we may not be asking the right questions, either to ourselves or to the witnesses- and since the former is an instant bias, our consideration of the event may be fractured by assumptions. Why the change of imagery? I suspect that the concept of the collective cognitive imperative, coined by Julian Jaynes, is aloft here, but just how this is entangled with the experiencer is problematic, and not necessarily consistent. I run on the assumption that much of this change of imagery is because many of the events are staged by mundane and laughingly sinister elements, being elaborate hoaxes.
    A system of perceptual and emotional parsings, along with investigator intuition, go far in breaking down hoaxes and perceptual anomalies. We could learn much by analyzing these and expanding them in imaginative ways- I will elaborate on these in the near future.
    By the way, this is a very informative site. Cheers.

    By Blogger RadioFree6EQUJ5, at Sunday, July 10, 2011  

  • "What has happened to the phenomenon? Why the alterations in appearance and behavior?"

    I'd like to pose a challenge to the premise of the question itself, that there has been a decline in the frequency of UFO sightings, and that the nature and behavior of the UFO phenomenon has also radically changed.

    How would we know that's true in lieu of a credible, objective, and vetted database of world-wide reports over the past nearly four decades?

    What do you base your opinion on, statistically and evidentially speaking?

    Might not there be other reasons for this assumption or perceptual bias? Could it be that other human factors are responsible, or that the phenomenon has simply become more randomized and simultaneously more broadly diversified to preserve an essential plausible deniability via more varying morphology, given the greater sophistication of national security related surveillance technology as a reductive factor, for example?

    I would reframe the question to address other variables than simply what is seen today and relatively how frequently--what are the timeframe parameters, for example, of the "old vs. new" ufo concept you suggest?

    I can think of a dozen other reasons why the question as posed may be more related to preserving a kind of cultural homeostasis to remain liminal (assuming for the sake of argument there may be one or more forms of advanced non-human intelligence operating) --perhaps the change perceived is kind of a Skinnerian random reinforcement process, which is much more effective than a Pavlovian routinized schedule of reinforcement in modifying behavior and influencing belief.

    Maybe it has more to do with how and why our general views about the UFO phenom have evolved over the last few decades, the way media deals with it, and the ongoing generic ridicule and dismissal of the phenomenon and the accumulated effects of that in society within our "post-modern" era.

    I'd slso suggest a kind of co-evolving, interactive and sociological process as part of the equation--mainstream media basically ignores the phenomenon, media in general is far more diversified and decentralized, so part of the question should be how much of the perception of a change and decline might be accountable to simply the MSM/altmedia/public feedback loop being more fractured than ever before?

    Perhaps the question that should be asked is why does the general public care less now or the subject of UFOs have diminished relevance and credibility on anything other than a superficial level within society than ever before?

    And might that also contribute to the perception of a decline in the frequency of UFO sightings or their nature as presumed here?

    There are still classic UFO sightings, landings, and alleged observation of small humanoid entities. The lights in the sky, spherical, and ovoid or disk shapes still predominate sighting stats. The triangular shape is now more common, but there may very well be man-made, prosaic reasons for that, with the rise of stealthy drone and other aerial surveillance tech developments.

    In other words, as Bruce said, a simple question, but the question is flawed in its implications and supporting blog text--the question and answers are far more complex, involved, and sophisticated than are being addressed here or by the presumption behind the question by itself.

    I suspect it has far more to do with how we think about the phenomenon than the naure of the phenomenon per se.

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Sunday, July 10, 2011  

  • RadioFree:

    This blog/site is informative because of the comments by visitors, such as you, mostly.

    While hoaxes and fraudulent accounts of sightings have flummoxed UFO followers, the phenomenon, itself, has provided a varying archetype.

    What that "archetype" is or means remains to be explained.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, July 10, 2011  

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