UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, June 09, 2014

The UFO “Zone"

In revisiting some classic UFO events, I notice that the persons involved (the witnesses) were all engaged in activity that was almost somnambulistic or they were in that daydream moment that comes upon people who are either engrossed in what they’re doing to the point that their movement and thought processes are almost automatic or unconsciously stimulated.

It seems that while in the performance of their activity, they’ve shut down their consciousness to an extent that they are moving and acting by sheer routine.

A number of UFO or flying saucer episodes involve this semi-conscious behavior that, for some reason opens the door to perceptions that would never occur in a fully waking state.

The mental process mimics that found in Cosmic Consciousness (as defined by Bucke) minus the revelatory elements in such transcendent occurrences.

For example, Kenneth Arnold’s iconic sighting of nine strange objects flying near Mt. Rainier came while he was flying, solo, in a routine manner – a flight experience devoid of a need for attention or full awareness.

The process functions inside the psychiatric-defined mechanism of “sensorium.”

Not to make too much of the effect let me state that some UFO accounts appear to generate an entry into a “zone” that is not necessarily delusional but a “zone” in which a percipient sees UFOs or interacts with creatures attendant to UFOs, both possibly real but from another reality.

I choose to see such activity as hallucinatory (or delusional) but physical remnants seem to undercut such an explanation.

That is, while such accounts strike one as part of the panoply we name as hallucinations or mental aberrations, the possibility is that such events are actual happenings wherein the persons involved have stepped over into a place that one might call The Twilight Zone.

The somnambulant-like condition make allow a person to perceive a reality that exists in a plane of reality that parallels their usual reality, but only fleetingly.

Other “sightings” that seem to fall into this Twilight Zone category would include the 1954 Rosa Lotti interaction in Italy, the 1961 Betty.Barney Hill “abduction,” the 1967 Michalak/Falcon Lake event, the 1973 folie à deux Pascagoula encounter, the 1979 Robert Taylor episode in Scotland, and others.

Of course, not all UFO sightings or events fall into the “zone” category I’m highlighting here, but there are enough – see Jose Caravaca’s litany of odd UFO encounters – to allow the conjecture that, perhaps, some flying saucer sightings or UFO encounters involve a transient perception of another reality or other realities: one’s mental state opens the door to such perceptions, as Aldous Huxley recounted in his “The Doors of Perception” (which was served up as part of a drug-induced experience) but which I see as an occasional neurological glitch opportuned by the routine mental state(s) I note above.

(Ghost encounters would be accounted in a likewise manner, but that’s for another time and other persons to delineate.)



  • The word for this is hypnagogia, a state between waking and sleep that has been cited as a possible explanation of abduction experiences based on the suggestion of a proverbial consensus mythology. The simultaneous intellectual explosion of Charles Fort, Andre Breton and Freud creating a scenario wherein odd happenings and patterns fall into realities is covered in “Cryptoscatology: Conspiracy Theory as An Art Form”by Robert Guffey. There is a fascinating excerpt here that led me to buy the book.:


    What is interesting to me is we spend one half of our lives asleep and what we experience is that everything and anything is possible in dreams, outside of the rules of classical physics. Our memories are turned into experiential simulations as if they were occurring to us from without rather than ourselves being the author. It reminds me of the isolation tank experiments of John C Lilly where the mind does strange things when not being directly tasked as if in the observer’s seat in a quantum movie theater. We seem to be in a isthmus between states of experiencing reality in classical physics terms and quantum strangeness. Does one cross over to the other? Who knows?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Also:
    The introductory paragraph from the cited book:

    "In 1919, a “meaningful coincidence” occurred: Charles Fort published The Book of the Damned and the surrealist André Breton (right) founded an anti-literary review titled Littérature. The work of both men would eventually inspire large groups of artists, philosophers, and other strange people to follow in their respective footsteps. In Breton’s case, this is exactly the result he had been striving toward. Fort, on the other hand, couldn’t have cared less. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note that both men – one in Europe, the other in America – were eagerly exploring the hidden realm of dreams, unexplained phenomena, and what the Swiss psychologist Jung would call “meaningful coincidences”."

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Bruce, no, it's not hypnagogia.

    It's something else, less unconscious.

    Your spin misses the thrust of what I'm implying; that is, some UFO experiencers are in a waking state that sets aside full awareness because of the attendance to a routine effort.

    And during that moment, something intrudes upon their sensory data, something not delusional.

    Taking my thesis into the hypnagogia state is wrong-headed.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • I agree with you as I wasn't endorsing that theory but rather citing it as an attempt to fold biology into mental states. I suspect an intermediary between the microcosm of the mind and the macrocosm of our environment that is transient and is in essence, a simulation just as a dream can replicate realities as external environments. Our fingerprints are all over it.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Bruce: "What is interesting to me is we spend one half of our lives asleep and what we experience is that everything and anything is possible in dreams, outside of the rules of classical physics."

    My dreams have a 3rd person point of view. I am an actor in my dreams.

    Does anyone dream in with a direct pov?



    By Blogger Don, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Bruce:

    I happen to agree with you (and Jose Caravaca), but I'm suggesting a
    real reality here, not a transient simulation brought to fruition by
    one's mind.

    The "appearances" are of actual things, material things, that are
    stumbled upon when one is in an odd state between full consciousness
    an semi-consciousness.

    It's not oneiric in nature either.

    Maybe I have to write more clearly.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Don:

    I'm not talking about a dream state.

    Let's not go down that road.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • I also agree with that. Its a complex relationship thats difficult to describe.
    Science recognizes intermediary states of matter. In terms of physicality Einstein borrowed a page from Plato in that on the opposing side, physicality is an illusion of the senses. All of experiential reality is a simulation with sensory systems feeding into interpretations. So we don't have an accurate portrait of the environment versus finite simulation. You can drive a truck through that gap. It does have a state and I think it is best described as an isthmus, having a solidarity that falls between physicality and quantum behaviors.
    Science accepts that material reality is pliable behind the scenes. What we have is a physicality that defy s description with similarities bound up in a incommensurable state. As they say, "to be determined.."

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Rich: "I'm not talking about a dream state."

    I understand that. It is our capacity to have two distinct modes of awareness as demonstrated in our dreaming I thought interesting and perhaps relevant here. It is not so obvious when we are awake, but there is no reason it could not be operative when we are awake.

    Many of Mr Caravaca's reports, which you have posted here over the years, do have that 'dreamlike' quality. Dreams, however, have a logic to them which is absent from many of his stories, as well as some others you have referred to (as have Michael Swords and David Halperin).

    They aren't really illogical, just absent any reason we can recognize. MiB encounters seem to be like that, as well.

    I agree with you, if this is what you mean: when we are absorbed in a routine task, on "auto pilot" as the saying goes, we are open to a perception that is not -- if you will forgive the phrase -- "socially constructed", and as in a dream, our awareness can be 'distributed' between several pov.

    I'm not presenting an explanation for what you are pointing out. I hadn't considered it before. These are just my immediate thoughts having read your article.



    By Blogger Don, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • I understand your position Don with which I am not in disagreement.

    I just don't want to allow an opening for the quidnuncs who confuse neurological meanderings with dreams, thinking that's what I'm suggesting.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Not to beat a dead horse but... Is our "normal waking state" much more than or significantly different from a dream? If you mix "quantum mechanics" with reality you end up with a "double vision" of reality. Where our waking state is not but a momentary resting state of probabilities... die tosses which come to rest on this "crap table" which possibly sits next to an infinite number of other "crap tables".

    You will recall from my father's papers my mother had one of those too real "dreams"... One which left her with the distinct impression the next morning she had seen small floating man-o-war like creatures, glowing softly friendly pink who, when startled, knocked her out and caused her nylon hair net to melt into her hair which my father had to pick out of her hair.

    Was it a dream? Was it a psychic experience? Was it hysteria that had high temp side effects? Or was it an actual visitation from "somewhere else"?

    I'm in favor of the idea that what we call reality is as leaky as a sieve and odd things come and go... we mostly never see them because we are too locked into our own narrow view of reality. When you turn off the narrow view you open the door to perceiving a "greater" reality. Not a psychic one or a religious one but something not bounded in classical Newtonian Clockwork Law-bound physical reality.

    Newton's clockwork universe is a great favorite among skeptics.. . because they can't conceive that reality is an illusion and everything is built on a Quantum zoo of "magic dust" which we cannot see that is a flying cloud of "magic smoke" probabilities which is larger than the universe we can conceive.

    Maybe Robert A. Heinlein was right to propose in his science fiction novel "Glory Road" that we just happen to sit astride a cross road of a multi-verse of reality... we are a way to get from some where to another where... and much too boring except for teen pranks and slumming by those that can't afford to go on vacation in a real, exciting universe.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Unfortunately, Rich, dreams are a universal experience and about the only alternative to normal awareness most people know. It is inevitable that dreaming will be the metaphor and analogy that comes to mind.

    Routines become hypnotic. In fact, many routine activities cannot be successfully performed if one is 'self-conscious' about it.

    Some routines, however, require concentration, a very narrow beam of awareness. Other routines require little concentration. I am more likely to have an odd stranger lean over my backyard gate and ask if he is in Cleveland or Detroit and ask to see jello while I'm in the second hour of shelling pinto beans, than when I'm in the second hour of taking down the brush with a chain saw.



    By Blogger Don, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Joel:

    Let me try to clarify my thesis...

    I think such episodes are delusional however I am willing to accept the possibility that what is seen or interacted with is a tangible reality, a material reality that is provoked by a specific mind-set, one that occurs when a person is in their "zone."

    Persons who do not concentrate on a routine behavior but go through the motions, in a sonambulistic manner will have this experience.

    The parameters of the "zone" need to delineated better it seems as you fellows are all over the map with pseudo-neurological or pseudo-psychological terminologies.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Joel
    I agree with drawing too severe a boundary in terms of waking versus dream states is a faux classification but from my own experience, one is more pronounced versus the other in more of a spectrum phenomenon which I failed to include.
    Whats fascinating in a perverse manner is to read the tortured rational loops and twists that Phillip K Dick wove in every possible permutation that would explain his own anomalous experience.
    While a brilliant man, his "The Exegesis of Philip K Dick " is one of the most prolonged exercises at throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the wall to see what would stick...a brilliant demonstration of what Welles called "the mind at the end of it's tether".
    That obsessive compulsion to apply logic to the irrational is a must read in terms of those who would apply a reductionist veneer over the inexplicable, believers and skeptics alike.
    Its a painful read.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Rich,

    The problem then is what causes "tangible results" like the hair net or "landing marks" or "melted aluminum" cans adjacent to the "burn marks" but miles from any source of heat or power which could cause aluminum to burn...? What causes "undisputed" observed results? The ones which cause radar equipment to see another radar that "isn't possibly there"?

    To rephrase a bit of Zen: If an aluminum can is discovered melted in a desolate desert did something actually cause the can melt?

    What of an "old" landing spot found by an 11 year old boy [not me] several miles from the nearest road in Death Valley who then shows it to his scientist-engineer father. Is it the work of imagination? Or was it a bit of conscious fiction created by someone's observing it? Or do these things somehow fall into a different classification?

    Does the tangible event cause the "meditative state" or does the "meditative state" cause the tangible? If the "meditative state" causes the tangible then is that "meditative state" a real or non-real state of being? Does hysteria cause cans or hair nets to melt? Both require temperatures which would cause serious fires.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • It could be a form comparable to psychokinesis as aptly demonstrated in other categories of paranormal and observable effects. The "UFO" community thinks these effects are somehow unique to their variant.
    From my own experiences, what causes a door to be knocked on so loudly as to wake me up from a sound sleep in a locked house? If anyone can explain that or any number of physical effects, they would win the Nobel Prize.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • We bought a cottage from a guy who was in love with the place but moving from water to desert at his wife's behest.

    The last time he visited, he broke down in tears saying he would never come back, he was so saddened to have lost his beloved home.

    He died last year, in Arizona.

    Lately, as I start to doze off in a chair in the living room, overlooking the lake, I am awakened by loud rappings or knocks on the wall.

    When I stay fully alert or hope to hear such noises when others are present, nothing happens, ever.

    But as soon as I start to nod off again, the loud cracking occurs.

    The previous owner back in touch?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • or is a "free association" of the old owner, unexplained phenomena, and / or unobserved "visitors"?

    or do you have a mouse or a lizard in the wall who only comes out when it is quiet? [I've had visits from both lizards and mice]... both stopped when I started letting my cats prowl the attic.

    My parents had a trailer at the place they owned in the desert. The trailer had a mouse... who would only come out when my wife was alone. I never saw it. Was the mouse real or imagination? Does it matter? She kept cursing it because no one but her ever saw it... She named it Duke after the dog that her parents had that would only have epileptic seizures when she was alone with him... Her parents did not believe her when she said the dog was sick... and it was only after several years the dog finally did have a seizure when they were around. So was the dog sick or did she make him sick?

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • We have all sat quietly, Joel, hoping to hear the sounds, which emanate from various places, most not where one would find space for mice or other creatures.

    The rappings are too loud for mice or other creepy crawlers, also.

    There may be a mundane explanation or something more.

    I am not close-minded about a paranormal explanation although I am genetically disinclined to go there.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Sounds like your "genetic disinclination" is betraying you... or maybe *you* are causing the knocks when you slip into that state between here and there...

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Joel:

    I pride myself on intellectual objectivity, and an open-mind.

    The knocks occur. That's all I can say for sure.

    What they are remains unknown but I'm not about to ignore the possibilities of what they are or how they're caused because others are loath to believe in paranormal events.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • The knocks woke me up from a sound sleep and continued when I sat upright in bed. My dog leaped from the bed and cowered under a corner desk. Unless it happens to you, there's no substitution for the experience versus second guessing.
    It is hard to accept there is no explanation. It was not a mouse with brass knuckles.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • I was reading over at Michael Prescott's blog a piece about "Mysticism and Madness" [I found the link at 'The Anomalist' June 10 list of links] and somewhere in it he mentions that idea that someone has posited that the physical brain acts as a "reduction filter" to "block out otherworldly" information. It is only when brain activity is halted or altered in some way does the percipient see or hear or experience what "cannot possibly be real".

    So maybe that is part of the "Zone" you are trying to describe. One of the things we seem to be unable to do is actually know the "state of mind" of the percipient in UFO or UAP events. Is the percipient seeing something that is not "here" or is the percipient seeing something that is here but normally "filtered out" by the brain normal functional process?

    Imagine a "universe" of stacked reality [much like the Russian Matryoshka doll] -- you cannot see the whole of it because you are not able [or possess the ability] to process the "next level" of perception simply because the hardware you have [your brain] is not designed to handle and discern the level of information available.

    So maybe it is the old owner saying 'hello'.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Wednesday, June 11, 2014  

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