UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chiles-Whitted 1948 UFO sighting

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

Do UFO sightings spring forth from the mind, something along the lines that Carl Jung postulated in his book Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies?
At a time (1948) when flying saucer-shaped UFOs were inundating the skies (or minds) of Earthlings, pilots Clarence Chiles and John Whitted spotted, not a saucer shaped craft but, a cylindrical-shaped craft like this one from a publication antedating 1948:
Carl Jung suggested, in his book, that flying saucers were unconscious projections of the mind, images of the archetypal mandala symbol:
That Jungian proposal flies in the face of the flying saucer/UFO sightings of the era (1950s and 1960s) and skews psychical and psychological projections.

But the germination of the idea offers an hypothesis that flying saucers and now UFOs are generated by mental images embedded in the human psyche – some human psyches.

Of course not all UFO sightings then (1947-1948 onward) or now (2012) are psychically created,

(That’s why we keep insisting UFOs are phenomena rather than a phenomenon.)

Spanish UFO researcher Jose Caravaca’s formulating Distortion Theory touches on the psychical ramifications of UFO sightings, mostly those that involve landings and interactions with “beings” or images of beings and their craft.

But what if sightings, like the Chiles-Whitted sighting and others, that don’t involved “interaction” but merely the visual of a strange craft “seen” in the sky, are remnants of an image picked up along the way, visually, by certain individuals who are predilected to project that image during times of stress or during conditions amenable to force the image from the unconscious?

That a companion or fellow-traveler also sees the image can be accounted for by the psychological condition labeled folie à deux (et alii).

Such projections account for present-day UFO sightings more than those of the earlier flying saucer era when objects sighted had a kind of tangibility.

Today’s “flying saucers” -- UFOs – are amorphous rather than material in nature. Thus the projections are easily manifested whereas the early flying saucers needed a more imaginative or severely warped creative mind-set.

That mind-set developed during a time of the Cold War and the open-ended, less sophisticated restrictions on what one might conjure up mentally, imaginatively.

George Adamski and his fellow contactees exploited that early mind-set, which they surely couldn’t do today with the cynicism of most human beings.

The wonder of flying saucers has given way to a cynical outlook of most people today.

Yet, a few bona fide UFOs still prevail, but they are not the projections that provoked what Chiles-Whitted saw, or what created the Betty/Barney Hill episode, and dozens of other “classic” UFO events and sightings.

(They are remnants of another category of UFOs, which I’m not dealing with in this posting.)

That UFO researchers were and are unable to cope with the psychological (or psychiatric) elements of past and present sightings goes without saying; UFO researchers are untrained in the disciplines necessary to address UFO manifestations, whether neurological, psychological, or technical.

This is why UFOs remain unexplained.

And it’s too late to go back and study the mental conditions of a Chiles or a Whitted or anyone else who provided a UFO report that we keep mulling over.

But an effort might be made to do a psychological evaluation of current UFO witnesses, if the field of UFO study can muster competent investigators.

(Chiles-Whitted-like space craft image, above, provided by Jose Antonio Caravaca)



  • The 'airship effect' is highly probable here. I don't know if Jung refers to this sighting, but regardless of Jung's archetypes the airship effect was known long before Chiles-Whitted.

    However, you are right in that in the days of the late 40s, AF investigators were slow to pick up on such things, and tended to assume some gigantic aerial craft was to blame. Hence the screening of many aircraft that might be reponsible and the aerodynamical approach as to whether a cylindrical craft of such an (assumed) size could fly at all.

    Did Jung in fact discuss this case, and did he present it as psychological? If so he was right but only partly so, as the stimulus was put down to a bright fireball, plus over-excitedness and the imaginary 'airship'.There was partial confirmation from a passenger and, I believe, another airplane many miles away; maybe also from the ground (but alas no 'windows' or fiery exhaust).

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, May 21, 2012  

  • No mention in Jung;s book, CDA, of this particular case....(there's no index so my scan may have missed it, but Jung doesn't present a lot of specific cases).

    However, he does take a pot-shot at Menzel -- nice!

    And Jung allows for the reality, the materiality (tangibility) of UFOs, suggesting that the mental and physical conjunction of flying saucers are somehow complimentary.

    Jung even brings in the surrealists.

    The book is a must-read for those who see (some) UFOs as mental projections (or even internalized imagery).

    In looking over some Joseph Campbell books recently, I have to think that there's much more to the possibility of mythic intrusions and the UFO phenomena [sic] than most of us are willing to concede.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, May 21, 2012  

  • While I believe in principle that the UFO phenomena is multifaceted, for some, such as "close encounters", I still hold that there is a deep rooted psychological...and physiological component.

    The Stress Adaptation Model may be a good starting point. I've been quietly looking at some of my case studies as possible clues (granted, they are severe and extreme cases) as to a mechanism explaining mental/visual distortions of reality.

    Sometimes the diseased brain can provide important information, since most of us use a variant of William James' self introspection, or more apt, self evaluation and assessment of our own perceptions of reality and environment.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Tuesday, May 22, 2012  

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