UFO Conjectures

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Intelligence and the UFO myth

Copyright 2021, InterAmerica, Inc. 

I mentioned the book pictured a few days ago and it's a good, informa- tive read.

I'm newly into it and the opening pages are about early (pre-1947) flying saucer accounts.

The 1890s "airship" reportage takes a hit, mostly seen or proven to be hoax-ridden newspaper stories mostly made up to attract readers (and revenue).

My friend Lucius Farish [RIP], along with Jerome Clark, often provided airship stories for magazines.

I have a few of them here and they are reported as if the stories are authentic and Lucius thought some were.

My pal French skeptic and Cognitive Psychologist Gilles Fernandez has also often written demeaningly about the airship craze of the late-1890s.

And while I've taken the Farish stance that some of those 1896 and other 1890s accounts seem actual, that view is not taken by the author of the book noted here, Maurizio Vergo, or other sane UFOers,

What supplements that sensible offset to belief in an actual airship wave is not the stories themselves, made up out of whole-cloth by newspaper reporters, but the intelligence of readers who bought the stories,

Human intelligence has always been iffy -- and still is: see Facebook for evidence -- but American intelligence was, generally at a low-spot, noticed by Tocqueville in his monumental book, Democracy in America (Two Volumes) [1830-1840] and hadn't improved by the 1890s nor improved much as of 2021.

Newspaper readers took the faux airship sightings as authentic believing that newspapers were as true and reliable as their Bibles. (And we all know how true Biblical renditions are.)

One can extrapolate the mentality of America's hicks of the 1800s to the hicks of America today. And not just about race or political asininity but almost everything: economics, science, art, music, and, yes, UFOs.

Look at the thinking inside the UFO community. It's as rife with ignorance as that which suffused the airship fictions of the 1890s and continues with the ET extension for UFOs or Ancient Astronaut delusions of the current day.

Yes, UFOs exist, -- Unidentified Flying Objects -- not UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) but the tenor of the explanation that such unidentified things are spaceships from extraterrestrial sources flies in the face of astronomical realities and is just as fanciful as the idea that airships were from Mars (or Venus) in 1896.

Human intelligence has not come much further than that found among primitive humankind, except for a few outstanding persons -- .0001 of the human race.

And some of us wonder why we haven't explained or understood the UFO phenomenon? The answer reaches out and slaps us in the face every day.



  • I've read Jerome Clark and Thomas Bullard on the airship sightings. They make clear that a ton of the stories were pure fabrication allowed by the shockingly poor journalistic standards of the time. But they also point out cases where the existence of the witnesses could be confirmed and where different newspaper accounts supported each other. It seems they thought that cases like that should be taken seriously. Does Verga object also to cases of that sort?


    By Blogger Martin Black, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • Martin:

    Verga offers newspaper accounts (footnoted) of several fantastic airship occurrences blaming them on, not newspaper reporting exactly, but the prevalence of people absorbed by a fascination with the planet Mars mostly.

    He doesn't present any of those sightings that Farish and Clark, among others, found worthy of consideration as "authentic."

    Charles Fort, occultists (Blavatsky et. al.), and a few astronomers as spiking the idea of a Martian civilization existing that many semi-reputable people were in contact with.

    Verga's overlay is the foolishness of the period (the 1890s into the 1920s) leading into the year 1947, with finger-pointing at Ray Palmer, the Shaver fantasy, and other far-out flukes prominent after WWII.

    (I've found no softening of his view that all airship and flying saucer-like sightings had a foolish or concocted patina. But I'm only at Page 50 so far)

    In the protracted accounts of Clark (and Farish plus others), there are some by credible, reputable persons and details that give some credence to the reported episodes.

    Albert Rosales has many in his Humanoid Encounters series and I have a number from various print media that aren't sci-fi oriented.

    I presented a few airship accounts (San Francisco for one in 1896) that Gilles Fernandez shook a finger at, accepting or pushing the idea that what was seen or misinterpreted was the planet Venus.

    The newspaper report and details of the sighting ruled out, for me, such a ludicrous explanation, but Gilles insisted that was what people took for an airship. (Our back and forth got heated and is only now cooled off a bit.)

    Sorry to get side-tracked.

    Verga's book is flush with interesting detail and references. (A good-read as I wrote.) But I don't know what his total take on UFOs is although I've seen him on a few cable UFO programs: a resolute, sensible guy.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • The chances that a few clever engineers were flying their inventions (lighter than air ships) around the countryside back before the Wright Brothers captured all the attention, strikes me as being realistic. That they were adverse to publicity doesn't put me off the idea, either.

    By Blogger Ron, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • I agree Ron....

    Some of the stories (reportage) have the ring of truth in them.

    I'll dig out a few and provide a photo [sic] by a famous photog of the time.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • I reject the idea that "we" have not solved the UFO riddle because "we" are just not smart enough. There are plenty of individuals who are smart enough; the average level of intelligence in society really does not matter in terms of complex problem solving. But (and I've made this point before) IF certain technology (or manifestations) are hundreds or even thousands of years beyond the present, then even the best and the brightest have no chance. Newton and perhaps even Einstein would have difficulty explaining how cell phones work or how to improve their performance.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • Dom:

    It's not the guts of a UFO that we have to salvage intellectually, but that it is just something advanced, out of our ordinary reality.

    Some would get that but the great unwashed wouldn't.

    Many today think that the Skinwalker ranch is a hotbed of ET and paranormal activity when it is just a front for pathologies among a few fanatics of dirty places where they see normal rot and filth as a queer reality.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • The great unwashed have no interest for me...and they should not for you. Progress (in science, economics, philosophy, etc.) is achieved by the relatively few, always has, always will. Do you think that the mass of the people understood or wanted powered automobiles before Henry Ford offered them up? Or that the average Joe or Josephine understands how a television works or what J.S. Mill's contributions to political science are; or the fact that the Declaration and/or Constitution never mentions the word "democracy"? Now I understand that it is easy to get depressed by all of this, i.e., by the fact that the great unwashed are ignorant or wrong on just about everything of intellectual significance. That this would apply to the subject of UFOs also is no great surprise!!

    By Blogger Dominick, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

  • The problem for me, Dom, is the masses' clutter that beclouds and often makes issues defunct with their interference.

    By the way did you see the recent New Yorker piece that offered the Godel flaw that opens the Constitution to a possible interpretation that could establish a fascist dictatorship here?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 05, 2021  

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