Spirit of the Age.
It is now largely accepted that UFOs are real. Throughout antiquity their presence among us has been recorded, in one form or another. What they represent however still remains a matter of great contention.
Ancient man often saw these unusual flying objects as a purely supernatural phenomenon, attributing them to their respective deities, as the biblical prophet Ezekiel did. These early struggles to understand the bewildering UFO phenomenon and close encounters with them might well have given birth to many religious beliefs and the metaphysical ‘gods’ of old.
The Dogon tribe of West Africa are, perhaps, unique in this respect. They contend they are the descendants of a race of space travellers known as the ‘Nommo’, who landed in ‘arks’ long ago. Their story is detailed and analysed by Robert K.G. Temple in his book The Sirius Mystery, but no irrefutable conclusions are reached.
From the 8th century and on into Medieval times, ‘Fiery dragons’ and ‘flying crosses’ were seen in the skies of Europe, reflecting the myths and religious beliefs of the times; the latter being reported by a 16th Century student in sacred writings.
The tone of reports in the ‘Age of Reason’ (late 17th to 18th Century) began to change however, as rigorous scientific observation was called upon to explain the bizarre aerial phenomena of the era. One such account, concerning an object seen over England in 1731, then in Ireland and Romania, where it stayed stationary for 2 hrs before splitting in two and rejoining again and heading off towards the west, was viewed by the Romanians as a ‘sign’. In England it was explained away as a ‘meteor’, seemingly ignoring the fact that it emitted intense light beams, which moved slowly for a while then stopped. One English observer reportedly claimed that it became so hot he was forced to take his shirt off, despite it being the dead of winter.
As human technology progressed by leaps and bounds in the late 19th and 20th Century, so too did the technological advancements employed by UFOs. Curiously, they always seemed to be one jump ahead of human achievements. The mysterious ‘airships’ of 1896 – 97 and the ‘ghost rockets’ of 1946 were ultimately superseded by the ‘flying disk’. Their unusual configuration and incredible maneuvers, coupled with the popular belief that space travel was within humanity’s grasp, gave birth to the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Despite our ingenuity, we are still, apparently, unable to manufacture an airworthy flying disk with the maneuverable capabilities of a UFO. Some have tried, but ultimately failed. Many however believe that, through ‘black budget’ projects in the US, this goal has been achieved.
To date, there are many theories to explain UFOs. Below is a short list of competing hypotheses:
* Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. The visitation of highly intelligent lifeforms from other worlds.
* Alien cohabitants. The theory that we are perhaps already sharing the Earth with an alien race or races.
* Earth lights Hypothesis. That UFOs are created by little-understood geological processes, like those of the San Andreas fault in California.
* Other Dimensions. The most difficult of explanations for UFOs, involving an unlikely combination of quantum mechanics, relativity and cosmology. In brief, it deals with intrusions by UFOs from a parallel universe.
*Psychic Intrusions. The hypothesis that close encounters are not materially real and have been planted in the mind of a subject by an external agency. However, this theory cannot account for all UFO sightings.
It is evident from the foregoing that the cultural tracking and scientific achievements of the modern age have impacted on our rationale (which seem to border on the absurd at times), altering our perceptions of UFOs. That the seemingly absurd nature of the UFO phenomenon itself would initiate a centuries-long search for the truth is, perhaps, somewhat ironic.