UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Transmogrification of Mystical Episodes (into UFO events)?

The June 4th New York Review of Books piece on the great sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini [Bernini: He Had the Touch by Ingrid d. Rowland, Page 16 ff.] allowed me a remembrance of Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the favorite saints of my Jesuit teachers at seminary in my youth.

Bernini’s terra cotta of Saint Teresa [circa 1647] is one of the glories of sculpting and art:
Saint Teresa became sainted when she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. And on September 27th  1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

This is one mystical “experience” she claimed to have had in 1559:

“Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions lasted almost uninterrupted for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain.” [Wikipedia]
Saint Teresa isn’t the only saint or person to have [holy] mystical experiences:

Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul) had a life-changing vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) spoke with God and conquered armies.

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism interacted with an angel of God (Moroni).

Bernadette of Lourdes had apparitions appear to her at the cave-grotto of Massabielle.

Three Portuguese children created the Fatima story.

The question to ask is (usually), Were these events from within or without?

Psychiatry would call such “experiences” hallucinogenic, even when wounds appear on the person having the experience: Padre Pio became famous for bearing the stigmata for most of his life.
But what about ‘unholy” persons who’ve had a UFO experience with evidence of afflictions from the thing they encountered?

Stefan Michalak (The Falcon Hill case)
Robert Taylor (the Scotland UFO incident)
 And others you are familiar with...

What makes one an alleged holy interaction and one a UFO event (or hoax)?

The experiences are similar in kind, only nuanced by the interpretations of those experiencing: some infused with holy or religious elements and some subject to a non-holy, weird experience, both exampled by the now clichéd Ezekiel experience recounted in the Bible [The Book of Ezekiel]:
Even assuming that the experiences are self-induced, from where and what do they derive, neurologically, psychologically, mentally?

The saints didn’t likely see Mary the mother of Jesus and Joseph Smith didn’t meet an angel. Or did they?

But did Stefan Michalak touch a hot UFO? Was Robert Taylor dragged about by an odd machine from elsewhere than Earth?

Did Joan of Arc go to the stake because she actually was communicated to from God?

Were Saint Teresa’s visions really from the perceptive doorway to God’s realm? Or was she fooled by her brain?

We can’t know, can we?

But we can speculate, and that’s all we can do.



  • Saul (St Paul) episode does smack of seizure/psychotic pathology, yet he changes from one behavior for another and never waivers from this event on the Damascus road. Yes, my background is tempered based on psychiatric pathology, but it's the long term thought process and content that intrigues. Was this uncontrollable guilt that fostered his new way of thinking that went on the establish Catholic dogma? His letters are explicit as to his belief, more fervent than any of the original disciples with maybe the exception of John.

    Regarding the Fatima episode in Portugal, I've read contemporary literature that two children died from cancer due to an external source, ie radiation exposure. This was not true as the original literature shows that the two children died from the Spanish flu. As to what was the true nature of their combined visions remains speculative to this day.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • I dunno. To me all UFO encounters are mystical experiences.

    Or, at least, they have the POTENTIAL to become mystical experiences, if they successfully induce a profound psychological or spiritual transformation in the witness.

    By Blogger Red Pill Junkie, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • > John Michalak (The Falcon Hill case)

    Stephen Michalak, Falcon Lake

    (Canadian content, you know.)

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • Fixed Terry, thanks...

    I got the name from a previous post of mine, with the same mistake.

    I blame it on the holiday grog (or old age).


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • Hello Rich et al, I read your post about closing the Iconoclasts/Conjectures blog and feel quite deflated. The venues are all closing and the sun is setting on places like this. People could opine on the certainties and what-ifs of whatever the heck all this ufological drama was stimulated by.

    I'd like to say thanks for all your time and effort spent on the blog. You've made us wince and smile at some of the irascible, scathing and otherwise friendly comments.

    With regards to this article, I think you are on the right track. If we look at the origins of the encounters that have dictated the way our societies interact, there's more than a suggestion of mental illness.

    Through modern eyes, anyone receiving angels in caves or being spoken to by burning bushes would be placed firmly on the scales of abnormal psychology. Despite this, our societies are still defined and fractured by belief systems that were borne of whispers in the ear that nobody else could hear.

    Poor Joe Fisher leapt to his death after paying attention to such whispers. Then we have Van Dusan drawing parallels between Swedenborg's 'hierarchy of spirits' and his patients in the institutions of modern day California.

    It seems like modern vessels of eschatology and the murmurings of unsourced entities are dismissed or confined to quarters. Why is there this separation? How can the world-at-large accept the messengers of ancient history whilst simultaneously discounting their modern equivalents?

    All those Contactees brought derivative warnings of spiritual consequences and end-is-nigh prophecies. Didn't Theosphists offer similar channels of spiritual knowledge in their own times? George King, Buck Nelson and Adamski might have been prophets in ancient times.

    Collectively and historically, we've allowed the claims of 'experiencers' to dictate the path of human progress.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Wednesday, May 27, 2015  

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