UFOs: The Fascinating Eras
Copyright 2014, InterAmerica, Inc.
UFOs, as an evanescent phenomenon or a serious phenomenon, remain for some of us an intriguing mystery.
I’ve divided, for myself, the phenomenon into to arbitrary categories that hold my interest.
UFO sightings from ancient times, up into the 1800s – best illuminated in the Aubeck/Vallee collection, Wonders in the Sky [Jeremy p.Tarcher/Penguin, NY, 2009] – is a compendium that enlightens the mystery, the phenomenon, in a way that isn’t so much scientific but mystical, for me.
The events noted from various sources/collections has to create, for inquisitive minds, something worthy of rumination. For instance, take this event from 1752:
A man named “Yaska” reportedly met a stranger dressed in white who took him to a flying cauldron. He believed he visited another world, and then returned to Earth. [Page 257]
The book’s litany of such items takes us to, without really going further, to the Airship wave of the 1890s, which continued into the early 1900s.
The Airship sightings, no matter how interpreted, can be viewed with a kind of journalistic awe, they are so rife with imaginative content.
Then, from 1947 into the 1960s, flying saucer and UFO reports provide the core of the sci-fi-like aspect of the phenomenon.
We have the iconic Kenneth Arnold/Mt. Rainier sighting of 1947 and a plethora of other sightings (Roswell excluded) that stir one’s imagination.
These include such sightings as the Chiles-Whitted observation, the Washington D.C, radar intrusions, plus dozens of others, supplemented by the contactee tales, which have been well accounted in Nick Redfern’s book, Contactees.
In that period are the odd encounters, mostly in Europe and South America, such as the Lotti/Italy event and the Petare, Venezuela episode of 1954, but also a few in the States as Flatwoods and the Kelly/Hopkinsville confrontation of 1955.
There is the Villas-Boas “abduction” event and the 1961 Betty/Barney Hill kidnapping, the 1964 Socorro incident plus the farcical 1966 “swamp gas” sighting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that besmirched UFO accounts, from then on out, because the investigator used an explanation that was errant on its face but stuck with the public/media mind.
No many important sightings until the 1975 Travis Walton experience, which created the alien abduction scenario one last time.
(Although the 1978 resurrected Roswell story took hold of the ufological imagination, that matter isn’t grist for me and others who see something fundamentally profound in the phenomenon itself, which has nothing to do with extraterrestrial visitations.)
Despite a few somewhat significant UFO sightings after 1975 (Phoenix, Stephenville, and O’Hare), the UFO phenomenon has settled into a backwater of probative inquiry by news media and saner elements of society.
The phenomenon has become anthropological or archaeological fodder for those, like myself, who still find the topic interesting.
UFOs have had their heyday, and the subject is old-hat now, and not worthy of time or money, except by the vestigial remnants of UFO aficionados who have little else on their existent plates.