UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

UFOs: The Science Fiction Effect

Copyright 2011, InterAmerica, Inc.

While perusing The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (Illustrated) edited by Peter Nicholls [Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY, 1979] I was struck by how many SciFi images matched or were similar to what some notorious UFO sightings proclaimed.

More importantly, the images all antedate the sightings that have become folkloric in the UFO canon.

Witnesses of the airship phenomenon of the late 1890s and early 1900s might have been influenced by illustrations for various publications such as these:



Maybe George Adamski got the idea for his allegedly concocted flying saucer and photographs of same from something like this:


Betty Hill was remembering her contact from magazines and images like this:


Detail from clipping (above)

And Barney Hill’s recollection of what he saw came from this magazine, spotted on a newsstand perhaps:


Or maybe it was one (or both) of these clips:



(One might even posit that Reverend Gill’s sighting in New Guinea was predicated on a remembered picture he once saw, particularly like the first of the three above.)

And have those who’ve seen little men next to or inside craft gotten their "sighting" from a classic Superman segment airing on TV in 1951?


Those who’ve described flying saucers and UFOs must surely have been influenced by clips such as these or movies of the 1950s which emulated the “saucer” seen here:


And persons halted by entities shooting them with a ray gun could assuredly been interposing, by culling from their memory, such images as this:


And abductees got some of their ideas from portrayals such as this one:


Recently, UFO spotters have been indicating they’ve seen triangular craft in the skies above them, such as this:


Now either UFO witnesses are regurgitating images purloined from their memory, or UFOs and flying saucers have adopted the constructs imagined by SciFi writers and editors.

Which is it I ask?



  • Since the human brain is hardwired to fit unknown phenomena into previously learned or inborn patterns, your hypothesis is probably close to the truth.

    Maybe the witnesses saw something for which they simply had no context or language to accurately describe. So their after-the-fact descriptions were force-fitted into something they knew (unfortunately rendering their descriptions inaccurate and spurious, but nevertheless recognizable to others).

    It’s the old “if people in the Middle Ages saw a DC-3 flying overhead they would have described it as a roaring, flying Crucifix” cultural phenomenon.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Thursday, September 29, 2011  

  • Greetings friends,

    Interresting as usual. May I ask what is the date of the second "airships" picture please ?
    Gilles F.

    By Blogger Gilles. F., at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • Gilles:


    From an early edition of "Clipper of the Clouds" by Jules Verne.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • The parallels of projecting human technology into a future state in science fictions in relation to what was observed as a timeline is a moving target that appears to be an intermediate conceptual platform related to perception. The profiling of what constitutes advanced or a future state of technology is far from static subject to a consensus that is a preformed modeling of what does not yet exist. These two aspects seem to indicate that:
    1. Witnesses are contaminated in anticipation by degrees in advance of a observation by their culture.
    2. The anticipation creates an observable result solely by perception. ( lack of empirical evidence)
    3. The only theoretical basis for anticipation matching a result founded in science are quantum effects related to perception.
    4. If this phenomenon was not projected by nature into the atmosphere, and steered by images of craft formed by what we think is appropriate to a future state and was ground based, would we see intermediary creatures. Moreover do we? Such as Sasquatch, Loch Ness, etc.
    5. Is the level of detail in these perceptions directly correlated to the level of consensus in anticipation? When consensus changes, does the phenomenon follow suit?
    This may have nothing to do with aerial craft but what we anticipate as appropriate to the atmosphere as a locale in relation to the future state of technology appropriate to it through a quirk of an unknown quantum effect through a environmental interaction \ relationship.
    I suspect it is more probable that this is an aspect of nature we have yet to pin down, as well as our species being an integral player as an extension of that nature. Craft may be a red herring.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • BTW..context.. Diseases were once thought to be the work of evil spirits. Natural phenomenon the work of bias projected humanoid gods in a predominately agrarian culture. In our culture, it is technological projections that follow their line of development in accordance with our contexts of anthropomorphism. We provide the context and the phenomenon reflects our conceptual models that are equally non existent as they are now future projections of our own capabilities. The mask is now off evil spirits and humanoid gods, I suspect the same will be for extraterrestrials as simply another mask that requires suspicion rather than the molds in this unknown natural energetic phenomenon.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • Bruce:

    I think you're placing too much emphasis on the quantum effect.

    Quantum mechanics or attributes are a clue, a tease, from the Ultimate Sentience; telling us something about reality.

    UFOs may also being doing that.

    I do not stray too far from Plato nor do I need to, to get a grasp of what the real reality is.

    Quantum is a canard of the gods, a joke on us, as it were.

    That's what Einstein implied with his God does not play dice with the universe bromide.

    You, of all people, know that we are being played with by the gods or God.

    However, the joke has gone off the tracks, since God is dead or comatose, or just aloof if you are one who thinks God is not able to die.

    See Richard Friedman's The Hidden Face of God or, since you have a scientific bend, get The Hidden Face of God (same title!) by Gerald L. Schroeder.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • I don't think any theology matches what we cannot imagine on either side of the fence, just as paranormal phenomenon as they are logical and rational to the degree that it assumes a complete picture as an architectural framework that we do not have. God to me is the Nth anthropomorphism which I suspect in of itself is illogical as it critically assumes a non human sentience simultaneously, while projecting human valuations-attributes arising from it. God is a binary placeholder, a post it note on the unknown. I don't think the universe is human while it has aspects we are certainly enfolded into as a form of identity crisis. Separating ourselves from what we are a portion of in a framework of a monarchical hierarchy seems naive to me.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • I have no doubts we are played in direct accordance to what we are ignorant of. Monotheism as a whole largely a perspective of denial that our species is only one aspect of a complex living system, having no more importance than trees. Thou art That comes to mind. This era we live in is a game changer as the old 2,000 year old theophany no longer fits what we are aware of and experience.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • To make a kind of amends to Don, let me say that you and I, Bruce, have strayed, as usual, from my posting and question at its end, making something abstruse of a rather simple query.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • I wonder how much NASA was influenced by Jules Verne's "From The Earth To The Moon"?

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • Frank:

    According to the book profiled here, NASA was rather much influenced by the Verne story.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • The question you're asking here seems similar, if not identical, to that raised by the previous post regarding Adamski and the fakers: how do certain artificial cultural constructs (whether intended as fiction or hoaxed "reality") become reality, or at rate, part of certain individuals real world experience.

    To main possibilities would seem to present themselves. According to the reductive, skeptical position, the witnesses/abductees have merely absorbed the cultural imagery, perhaps unconsciously, and then recycled them as personal delusions or mis-identifications.

    According to a Jungian perspective, the cultural imagery may have some universal archetypal significance. Now IF something like a collective unconsciousness did exist, then it would be possible that very similar UFO/ET imagery could be arrived by different individuals independently of one another. The sci-fi writers, artists, and contactees/hoaxers might have arrived at the images by an active use of the imagination resulting in a passive state of receptivity to archetypal imagery. The abductees/witnesses would have arrived at similar imagery by means of some involuntary hallucinatory episode of a type we don't really understand. Finally, psychedelic experimenters (such as McKenna) and occultists (such as Crowley, with his rough prefiguring of the Grey archetype in the "Lam" portrait)deliberately induce similar altered states of consciousness by means or drugs or ritual magic. The common denominator, then, would be an altered state of consciousness inducing a heightening sensitivity to archetypal material, whether deliberately or involuntarily induced.

    Look at it this way: cosmic consciousness, as theorized by Richard M. Bucke, has been known to occur in individuals either by means of concerted meditation, psychedelic experience, or completely spontaneously, out of the blue. Could something similar be the case with the UFO Phenomenon?

    By Blogger Tristan Eldritch, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • Here's your collective unconscious . . . . .


    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, September 30, 2011  

  • Cylinders, cones, discs, triangles, are graphic primatives found everywhere.

    I don't think a science fiction effect is obvious. Also, that 'effect' assumes ET, not only futuristic technology. 'ET' is not much in evidence in 1947, and doesn't become the defacto association to the saucers for several years -- after Keyhoe in 1949.

    Once the ET hook is set, then science fiction as an influence comes to the fore. Prior to Keyhoe, the hook had been baited by occultists and Forteans. Only a few rational or scientific voices, though, were heard prior to Keyhoe, proposing the ETH.

    So, at the beginning, there is no reason for science fiction re ET to have much impact on the concept of saucers.

    A better case can be made for sf's influence in terms of 'furturistic' technology. Immeadiately after the war, Hap Arnold described his vision of the air forces' future, in press interviews, as "push button" warfare. Piloted war craft would be superceded by war craft controlled remotely by technicians, rather than being piloted craft -- 'Buck Rogers' futuristic technology.

    The 1947 wave saucers, such as Arnolds', were perceived as secret experimental craft. Rather than pure disks, they had leading and trailing edges, and canopies on top (if anything). That is likely the form of Rhodes' photographed saucer. It is definitely so in his descriptions.

    The question is really: where did the domed saucer form come from.

    First, the leading/trailing edge disappears from the reports (and photos). The canopy is enlarged into a dome. The contactees, such as Adamski added an architectural feature: their saucers not only had a dome, but the dome rested on a cylinder, making their saucer look like a Renaissance cupola.

    The most obvious influence on the domed saucer was The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) and other Hollywood visions of saucers throughout the 1950s. The TDTEST saucer was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the saucers in Earth vs The FLying Saucers (1956) was designed by Ray Harryhausen. Hollywood saucers had domes resting directly on the disk, lacking the cylinder struture of the contactee saucer.

    The sorts of saucers commonly described became the domed Hollywood saucer. The occult-oriented contactees described the architectural cupola style of Adamski. The original Arnold/Rhodes saucer was no longer reported.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Saturday, October 01, 2011  

  • "Witnesses of the airship phenomenon of the late 1890s and early 1900s might have been influenced by illustrations for various publications such as these:..."

    They would have been influenced by actually existing airships, too. Various entrepreneurs and inventors were at work on them in the 1890s. I'm aware of some of the work being done in the midwest at that time. In the 1900s, prior to WWI, there were several well-publicized flights.

    Reading the press stories in the 1890s, I'm struck by similarities to the press reports of the saucers in 1947. There were hoaxes, cons, ridicule of sighters and their sightings, sober warnings against overheated imaginations, and hallucinations -- an earlier generation of believers and debunkers.

    I know there is a book published about the airship wave(s). I browsed through its index online and couldn't find references to the men and their airships I know about, so I didn't buy it. I wonder whether anyone has attempted to map the sightings to the actual airship work being done at the time.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Saturday, October 01, 2011  

  • Don:

    Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish did yeoman's work on the airship mystery and ran several serialized articles about it in UFO magazines of the seventies.

    I have come across a slew of them.

    Also, I've put online, earlier here, a definitive account of the sightings -- a scan and a link to the article.

    You can find it via our archived listings or, easier, via Google by searching for airship mystery.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, October 01, 2011  

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