UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cave Art, Alien Beings, and Betty Hill's "abductor"

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

Spanish UFO researcher Jose Caravaca sent us these images derived from cave walls at Barrier Canyon, Utah, and thought to date from anywhere between 1500 and 4500 years old:


(The image above was noted by Senor Caravaca as “eating a snake.”)




This painting of a “group” shows one entity or being that reminds me of drawings of alleged aliens by UFO witnesses, notably the Betty Hill alien:


The “alien” image separated from the others:


An enlargement of the “alien”


In conjunction of the commentary for the posting just previous to this one, what can we deduce or hypothesize about such images?

PurrlGurrl offers that we are going a bit far in trying to decipher what such images mean, not being privy to and not having anything informationally concrete about such primitive societies, cultures and/or mind-sets.

Bruce Duensing thinks that such images derive from primitive man’s natural inclination to imbue things as magical totems.

Shamanism needs an antecedent of some kind.

Thinking that primitive societies require forensic study to determine what the peoples were thinking or experiencing when such images were created is scientifically sound but disallows conjecture, based upon how extant primitive societies think today.

After all, mankind hasn’t progressed that far from its brutish past.

What would possess a Neolithic artist to create imagery from imaginative mental forays?

Were primitive mankind’s mental abilities so evolved 4500 years ago (or earlier) that an artist could call upon such mental imagery to create the paintings we find on cave walls around the world?

Wouldn’t such an ability have been ingrained by creative natural selection to an extent that the early Epyptians, Greeks, and other early cultures would have produced painters with an equally imaginative output?

Where is such output?

Abstraction in art didn’t really arrive until the end of the 19th century.

And looking at Aboriginal societies, Brazilian Indians, or African tribes can give us an almost certitude about how primitive mankind lived and thought.

I see such images as representations, as best as can be created by primitive artists with primitive tools, of what was actually being seen by or experienced by the “painters.”

That the odd accretions seen in cave imagery are creative adornment by the painters goes a bit far, in my estimation, of how primitive man thought or was able to think.

The evolution of thought and art (or creativity itself) doesn’t allow a hop, skip, and jump to the 1900s.

What we see is cave art is what the artist saw and painted. It’s not a spurt of abstract thought or creative output that prefigures what modern artists conjure up.

Now should come a considered evaluation or set of hypotheses.

Duensing and PurrlGurrl have provided some. But are they on to something? I’m guessing, no.



  • I've been to Sego Canyon, Utah and seen those images up-close, which as you know are another set often cited as having "visitors" included among the various representations. http://strangestate.blogspot.com/2010/07/watchful-eyes-of-lonesome-sego-canyon.html

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • Thanks, Cullan...

    Yes, the pictographs are fascinating.

    That's why Jose Caravaca collected them and sent them along.

    I also suggest visitors here use your link to access your site, which always contains interesting and informative material.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • In looking more closely at the last few images are actually from Sego and not Barrier, which lies due west of Moab in the Green River area. Whereas, Sego is north of Moab off 70.

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • Here is one example and there are several others I could pass along regarding the illustrations made of horned shaman. Generally, the purpose of the horns attached to a headdress was to signify magical power radiating outward from their being. The more horns the better as in Siberian Reindeer culture. The evolution of this ritualized intentional possession of nature spirits to imbue power and knowledge ( herd movements, weather, etc) the priesthoods of early Bronze Age civilizations is a whole topic in of itself. Early "blacksmiths" were considered magical and somewhat dangerous to mess with which up until recently was still true in parts of Africa..


    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • BTW..
    For a time I was interested in Robert Temple's theory on the Dogon Tribe ( which I was rather surprised you did not cite). His work was based on a ethnogaphic study and was cited by Carl Sagan, who according to Temple, later tried to have him barred from some scientific organization ( whose name I cannot recall). I gave up looking for any paper or article refuting this theory or the citing of the alleged knowledge of the binary system associated with Sirius. Does anyone know of such source for a critical examination of Temple's work on the Dogon?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    The Dogon/Sirius story doesn't help us here.

    That "mystery" has become contaminated by all the back-and-forths that have ensued about it.

    I can recommend a book we've referenced here before: America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World by Barry Fell [Wallaby Book from Simon & Schuster, NY, 1976].

    The photos and images in the book intrigue, as do the hypothetical cogitation.

    But, for me, the ideas of noted anthropologist Kaj Birket-Smith in his book "Primitive Man and His Ways" [Mentor Books from The New American Library, NY, 1963] answer some of the open-ended thoughts presented by you, Bruce and also those of PurrlGurrl.

    PurrlGurrl's observation that we are limited by our non-access to cultures under discussion is supported, in part, by Birket-Smith.

    His chapters on the Plains Indians in his book [Page 54 ff.] includes the diverseness of the American Indian tribes, including those from whence the Barrier Canyon images derive.

    Moreover he states, about Indian warriors, that "only the bravest would venture to wear a pair of bison horns, he symbol of strength, on their headdresses." [Page 78].

    Not a symbol of energy or something mystical, just a metaphor for virility or strength.

    Also, discussing artistic renditions he writes that "...designs were named after animals or real life objects, but this did not mean that they were stylized versions of what were once realistic pictures, for he same design occurred in different tribes under widely differing names." [Page 79]

    "In addition to their esthetic efffect many, if not all...had a magical significance....and esthetic effect was purely secondary -- if it existed at all. What the Indian painted on his shield were his visions, the mighty helpers in his hour of need and what he depicted on his cloak were all his meritorious deeds." [ibid]

    Birket-Smith also addresses The Peyote Cult [Page 87] which caused narcotic induced visions, some of which might have been -- might have been -- incorporated in art, although one might find it hard to accept the idea of an Indian artist (or earlier primitive artisan) producing such exquisite images as those discovered while on a "high."

    What art that we've all seen, some of it reproduced at this blog, shows what cave artists or primitive peoples actually saw and used for totemic relief during their daunting existence(s).

    Such imagery evolved into religious ritual as Eliade Mercea recounts, and I'll provide his comments as soon as I can find his volumes amongst the detritus from our ongoing office move.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • I have Eliade's book as well and like yours they are packed away in "overflow" file boxes in the garage which I am loathe to reopen. No willpower.
    To keep this comment reasonably short, I agree with what you presented from Kaj Birket-Smith, however, with this rejoinder, which is that there is an equal amount research done on shamatic tradition, coming from first sources ( the tribe members themselves) and I don't think this is an either \ or case. From what I have read this perspective versus the other, they talk past one another, as both are equally true depending on the time frame, the location and the tribe. Pictographs outside of their cultural context sort of follow the path of the accompanying parallel path of the many dead languages of native tribes, whose language has contents ours does not. In many cases, as you probably already know, we have no compatible verbs, adjectives etc in our own. Reasonable doubt sort of rules this game on both sides of any consideration. I will rummage further some time today if the spirit moves me.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • Actually, the figure looks nothing like the Hill drawings (at least not those published in The Interrupted Journey). I looked at my copy. But I guess this is just knit picking on my part.

    I see the figure as someone wearing a mask or head dress. I suspect everyone who looks at the image sees and interprets it a bit differently based on his beliefs, experiences, and knowledge base.

    What did it mean to the artist? Who knows? The power of art lies in its impact on the individual experiencing it, however personal that impact may be.

    Viva la difference!

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • Yes, PG, the Hill drawing was different, but those that followed strike a similarity.

    I altered my observation by using "notably" in place of "particularly" referencing Hill's drawing.

    The point is that the "mask" image shows up, ubiquitously, at venues far flung, and not even upon the same continent or in the same time-frame (by thousands, even millions of years).

    Why that image?

    It's not a mask then, so from whence does it derive?

    The collective unconscious or alien intrusions of some kind: extraterrestrial? interdimensional? time displacement?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • It's been suggested that the typical gray alien is a representation of how a newborn's brain perceives a human face.

    Maybe the "collective unconscious" consists simply of artifacts from this time in each of our lives before our brains matured. These artifacts were created from what is universally hard-wired into our brains at birth and represent our first impressions of the world processed by our then homogeneous, unformed minds.

    So we're programmed to see the same images at birth, but as our brains mature the images we receive are refined and imbued with our individual cultural and experiential interpretations.

    In times of altered mental status due to a wide variety of reasons (extreme fear or stress, mind altering chemicals or physical states, etc.) likely the primal images from those first moments life stored in deep memory can easily rise to the surface.

    I don't believe they're a collective memory of shared past events, per se. However, I believe they do have a common source in how all human brains function at birth.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • A possibility PG...

    A kind of birth trauma imagery, that rears it's head (no pun) later in life.

    Dealt with by Otto Frank and L. Ron Hubbard, the idea of a birth trauma has some cachet, but is a bit much for me, if used to indicate the imagery showing up in UFO encounters.

    Even the neurological etiology doesn't really allow for the "mask" (the alien feature).

    But it's a possibility, as I've noted, not just a good one.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 18, 2012  

  • I digress from cave paintings, but you can bet your bippy (hat tip to Rowan and Martin) that birth imagery shows up in alien abduction scenarios.

    Don't you find it interesting that the overwhelmingly largest percentage worldwide of those who claim abduction and adhere to the standard scenario are in the US? So many of their abduction stories do sound very much like thinly disguised memories of a US hospital delivery room birth.

    A newborn is not just a mewling, slimy, squirming lump of flesh. It's brain is already experiencing emotion (most likely intense fear as its being bombarded with stimulation from the hospital delivery room environment and physical examination) and storing memories -- primal memories formed at a time when the infant brain is not yet able to interpret or categorize them.

    This is powerful stuff and shouldn't be discounted because aliens are a lot sexier explanation for this bit of human psychology.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Wednesday, September 19, 2012  

  • PG:

    Psychoanalyst Otto Rank abandoned his birth trauma thesis, at Freud's urging.

    Hubbard's Scientology still puts much faith in birth trauma.

    While it can't be discounted as a possible explanation for alleged UFO abductions, it is awfully iffy.

    But alien abductions are iffy themselves.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 19, 2012  

  • Don't give a rat's patoot about Frank. Or Freud, who's theories are no longer taken literally by neuroscientists. The brain is a complex organ and its physical state is more a driver of behavior than the intangible Id (please point the Id out to me on a brain scan, when you get a moment).

    Live with a parent whose brain is devolving with Alzheimer's and watch the inexorable deterioration of all memory, logic, functions, and finally consciousness itself. You'll understand why I'm not a believer in the brain/mind split, and why I reject all 19th century theories that don't take into account brain biology and chemistry in describing human psychology and behavior.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Wednesday, September 19, 2012  

  • As a dualist, I differ with or from your views PG, but can accept the possibility that the brain and mind are co-dependent, as you seem to be experiencing with your parent's Alzheimer disease.

    However, I've experienced a duality that confirms, for me, the separation of mind from brain, although the activity of the brain seems to direct or conduct mental activity.

    It's yet to be made clear whether there is a soul or mind and it exists apart from brain matter.

    There is circumstantial evidence that mind is apart from the biology, as Aquinas thought, and the greats (Freud -- who is popular again! -- and Jung, among others) think and thought.

    But "chacun a son gout" as I am wont to over say.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 19, 2012  

  • I came across this page from a Google search for Barrier Canyon Style. Just FYI, most of these images were "collected" from Doak Heyser's websites. It would be kind of you credit the photo source(s). Several come from the attached link (where you can find many more, and some context) the rest I'm not sure.


    By Blogger BCLee, at Saturday, September 29, 2012  

  • Thanks, BCLee...

    Jose Caravaca is showing some of these at his Facebook page.

    They are fascinating, in a number of ways.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, September 29, 2012  

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