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Angels, Airships, and Aliens: The 3,500-Year History of UFO Sightings

Listen to “E108 9-28-19 Angels, Airships, and Aliens: The 3,500-Year History of UFO Sightings” on Spreaker.
Article by Matt Blitz                       September 24, 2019                        (popularmechanics.com)

• The US Navy has admitted that the three released videos of ‘unidentified aerial phenomenon’ are authentic, each depicting quick-moving oblong-shaped objects. The Navy has yet to identify the objects in these videos. The term “UAP” has replaced “UFO” which still carries a lot of historical “baggage” and stigma, and discourages people from reporting a sighting. Journalist Leslie Kean who helped break the New York Times story in December 2017 about the Navy’s UAP sightings says, “That term (UFO) is so loaded at this point, that you are never going to change people’s understanding of what it means.” “All you can do is adopt a new one.”

• But this is not a new phenomenon. Humans have seen and encountered unidentified flying objects for millennia. The only thing that’s changed is how people have interpreted these events over the years. Here is a summary of four eras of UFOs:

Biblical Beginnings – Diana Walsh Pasulka, author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology and a professor of philosophy and religion at UNC Wilmington reports that “Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the major religions actually have pictures and anecdotes of aerial phenomenon.” In nearly every religion, there are “contact events” where an important figure makes contact with a heavenly figure. Moses and the burning bush, Mohammad and the angel Gabriel, and the Virgin Mary’s own angelic visitation. “These are human’s first contact with something they interpret to not be human or of this planet. And, if they are [not of this planet], they are de facto extraterrestrial.” Unexplainable phenomena can become religion.

The Era of Airships – In his 2010 book Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times, French astronomer Jacques Vallee analyzed 500 historical UFO reports. The earliest sighting dates back nearly 3,500 years to modern-day Sudan, when a falling star “the like had not happened before” struck down the Nubians to give the Egyptians a military victory. These mysterious sightings dot human history and culminate in Dubuque, Iowa in 1879 when a “large, unexplained airship” was visible for an hour before it “disappeared on the horizon.”

• According to Pasulka, by the late 19th century humans began to shift their interpretation of the unknown from a religious framework to a technological one. In 1896 and 1897, mysterious “airships” were seen all over the U.S. with many witnesses signing affidavits. Thomas Edison remarked “it is absolutely impossible to imagine that a man could construct a successful airship and keep the matter a secret.” But by the late 19th century, hydrogen-filled airships were in development.

The Dawn of the UFO – Late into World War II, American fighter pilots started observing orange, glowing lights they dubbed “foo fighters”. Rumors circulated about the Nazi’s using advanced technology and even establishing a lunar base. But American scientists explained it away as “electrostatic phenomena”. Then in 1947, Kenneth Arnold saw strange round craft flying in formation in excess of 1,000 miles per hour. Again, the Army dismissed it as a mirage or hallucination. But others came forward to say they had also seen similar aerial phenomenon.

• A few years later, the Air Force coined the term ‘UFO’ and it was prominently used in the Robertson Report, the same scientific panel that dismissed the ‘foo fighters’. The convenient excuse for these UFOs became the Soviet’s testing of secret weapons. But the US military brass “wrote that off pretty early on because of the extreme sophistication of the technology,” says Kean. “It was unimaginable that the Russians could have something like this.”

An Extraterrestrial Threat? – The US Air Force created a secret project code-named “Sign” to investigate these UFO incidents. Kean says that there were “so many documents that show at the highest levels [the U.S. military] didn’t know what they were.” Some believed that these aerial phenomena were not from this planet. Then the July 1952 sightings over Washington D.C. convinced the government that the phenomenon could not be ignored. The military told the FBI that “the objects sighted may possibly be ships from another planet such as Mars”. The military told the public was that there was no “conceivable threat to the United States”, while they secretly feared a national security threat. Says Kean, “They just didn’t know what else to do at that point.”

The Mystery Remains – The Robertson Panel in 1953 determined to debunk UFO sightings as either man-made or natural phenomenon. And that’s exactly what federal authorities did for more than six decades. But recent events suggest a new government strategy in the works. As of the 2017 New York Times article, the government confirmed that it had been investigating the UFO/UAP phenomenon in a $22 million Pentagon program that officially ended in 2012, but insiders said it continued until 2017 when its head, Luis Elizondo, resigned. The program studied physical effects from encounters with the objects and the theoretical technology that could enable the UAPs to perform as they did. But most interesting was that the program had recovered materials from these UAPs.

• Kean thinks there is a lot of research going on behind-the-scenes. As it is presumed that the U.S. isn’t the only country in possession of UAP materials, there is a secretive global race associated with this research. Says Kean, “From what I’ve been told, it’s a competitive thing. Whoever understands the technology first has a real advantage. My sense of it is that there’s an undercurrent of competition among Russia, China, and the U.S.”

• Sources have also told her that the physics of how these objects move has already been cracked. “What they’ve figured out is very futuristic,” says Kean. “[T]hey can understand how it’s done.” Scientists and medical experts are also attempting to understand the biological effects on those humans who’ve come close to these phenomenon.

• More than two-thirds of Americans believe that the US government knows more about UFOs than they are telling the public. It’s becoming common to see UFO videos on YouTube. But are they extraterrestrial? “It’s a valid hypothesis,” says Kean. Or could they be explained as inter-dimensional, or time travelers, or super-secret weapons or aircraft developed by another nation on this planet? What was a mystery in ancient times remains a mystery today.

This past week, the U.S. Navy confirmed that several videos—two of which were first released by The New York Times in 2017 depicting so-called “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” (UAP)—are authentic. The three videos, (another was later published by The Washington Post), each depicting quick-moving oblong-shaped objects, were shot by Navy pilots during training exercises in 2004 and 2015. The Navy has yet to identify the objects in the video, and along with the Department of Defense, said the videos should have never been made public.

While a “UAP” may be an unfamiliar term, that’s sort of the point. UAPs are essentially the new UFO—but with a lot less historical baggage. A Navy spokesman told The Washington Post that the acronym “UFO” carries so much stigma that it discourages someone from reporting a sighting.

“That term is so loaded at this point, that you are never going to change people’s understanding of what it means,” journalist Leslie Kean, who co-wrote the 2017 New York Times investigation into the Pentagon’s UFO (or UAP) program, tells Popular Mechanics. “All you can do is adopt a new one.”

But humans didn’t just start seeing UFOs darting around above our heads in just the past few weeks…or in 2015, 2004, 1947, or even 1639. Humans have seen and encountered unidentified flying objects for millennia.

BIBLICAL BEGINNINGS

Unidentified flying objects have been recorded throughout human history. The only thing that’s changed is how people—stretched across thousands of years—have interpreted these unexplainable events.

“Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the major religions actually have pictures and anecdotes of ariel phenomenon,” Diana Walsh Pasulka, author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology and a professor of philosophy and religion at UNC Wilmington tells Popular Mechanics.

Some of them were comets, asteroids, meteors, and other atmospheric optical phenomena that were scientifically unknown to our ancient ancestors, but others still defy modern explanations.

Pasulka explains in nearly every religion, there are “contact events” where an important figure makes contact with a heavenly figure. Moses and the burning bush, Mohammad and the angel Gabriel, and the Virgin Mary’s own angelic visitation.

“These are human’s first contact with something they interpret to not be human or of this planet. And, if they are [not of this planet], they are de facto extraterrestrial.”

Pasulka says the Torah’s tale of Jacob’s fight with an angel is a good example of an encounter with aerial phenomenon that was turned into a religious narrative. “When you go back to the original source and read it in its original language… it wouldn’t look like what the artists’ rendition of it are in Western history,” says Pasulka, “It would look like he’s fighting some kind of being from outer space.”

Pasulka isn’t saying that a biblical figure fought an alien and it turned into a religious text, but that vision of a figure descending from the sky could have come from a shared, human experience or observation. When religion is a lens to explain the universe, unexplainable phenomena can become religion.

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How the Increasing Belief in Extraterrestrials Inspires Our Real World

by D.W. Pasulka                  March 11, 2019                     (vice.com)

• It used to be that mainstream scientists such as Stephen Hawking would describe believers in UFOs and extraterrestrials as fringe “kranks”. But today, many respectable scientists not only believe in ET and UFOs, but claim to have been in communication with them, or have even had a close encounter. The article’s author, Diana Walsh Pasulka, has written a book entitled: American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, which reveals how the increasing belief in nonhuman intelligence inspires our science and entertainment.

• Jacques Vallée is a computer scientist who has long been open to the reality of the extraterrestrial presence on and around the earth. He consulted on Steven Spielberg’s movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and he paved the way for other Silicon Valley scientists and biotechnologists to draw from alien technology, using technology from alien spacecraft crash sites and information from mental downloads.

• Technology entrepreneur Rizwan Virk claims to have spoken with top researchers at Stanford, MIT, and Harvard who have actually seen alien “artifacts”. Virk also says that he accompanied several research scientists to an alien spaceship crash site in New Mexico, which was not the Roswell crash.

• Pasulka maintains that religions are social phenomena that emerge from their environments. Today’s digital environment (through films, phones, and computers) is producing new forms of religious beliefs which take for granted that extraterrestrials are in regular communication with humans on earth. The difference between these “religious” beliefs is that traditional religions require blind belief without real proof. The belief in extraterrestrial intelligence interacting with earth humans, however, is something that will be proven true.

• Until now, scientists and researchers have shied away from expressing their belief in an extraterrestrial presence, due to what Pasulka calls “the John Mack Effect.” Dr. John Mack was a Pulitzer Prize winning research psychiatrist working at Harvard University. In the 1990s Mack began a study of people who believed that they were in contact with extraterrestrial intelligence and found that they were not delusional, but were perfectly normal. Still, Harvard University questioned his motives in an internal investigation, and portrayed him as a ‘kook’. This produced a chilling effect related to the study of UFOs as scholars became unwilling to risk their reputations to study the phenomena.

• However, a recent presentation by Garry Nolan of Stanford University at the Harvard Medical School’s Consortium for Space Genetics, argued that the people who would be best equipped to explore space would be those whose brains were attuned to nontraditional forms of knowledge, and who have the ‘hyperintuition’ – the ability to know things beyond normal means, like a sixth sense. These are the types of people who should be chosen to investigate extraterrestrial destinations, says Nolan.

• For her book, Pasulka interviewed a biotechnologist named Thomas, who works in the field of cancer research. Thomas has introduced ‘implant technology’ to the field, using implant devices etched with a laser and coded so that human tissue recognizes and adapts to them. But he made a point not to reveal to his fellow scientists that he got the idea of an implant from alleged extraterrestrial technology. Says Thomas, “It would have been so far removed from their own belief systems that it would have been impossible for them to implement my vision. So, I keep that part secret.”

• The potential of almost unimaginable space infrastructures has created a new form of religion based on possible realism. Given the ways in which religious and spiritual beliefs develop, the emerging connection between Silicon Valley technopreneurs and alien technology is not surprising. As Vallée said, ‘the apparent absurdity of the claims does not mean they are not true’.

 

I first met Thomas* through a mutual friend. By most societal standards, Thomas would be considered “normal”—he’s a successful biotechnologist with a partner and kid, he enjoys long walks on the weekend and eating out. In his work, he helps create technologies that help people recover from illnesses, such as cancer. But the inspiration for some of Thomas’s most successful technologies—such as implant devices that are etched with a laser and coded so that human tissue recognizes them as itself, and not a foreign agent, or the use of an ancient stem cell that appears to help alleviate pain associated with cancer—is not something he openly shares. Why? Because, he explained to me, the implants were inspired by “nonhuman intelligence.” In other words, it wasn’t his own brilliant idea, nor was it another human’s. He believes that it came from a supernatural source, perhaps extraterrestrial.

His research protocol was, to be blunt, not transparent. He never told any of the scientists he recruited to his team where he acquired the idea for the new technology, because, according to Thomas, “First, they would have thought I was really weird, and second—and most importantly—it would have prevented them from being successful in implementing the necessary steps to create the technology. It would have been so far removed from their own belief systems that it would have been impossible for them to implement my vision. So, I keep that part secret.”

     Diana Walsh Pasulka

It has long been the case that people who believe in UFOs or extraterrestrials are characterized, as Stephen Hawking has described them, as “cranks” or fringe dwellers. Despite that association, some of the world’s brilliant, Nobel Prize–winning minds, among them the mathematician John Nash and the biochemist Kary Mullis, have had experiences they perceive to be close encounters. The University of Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, famous for his advocacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution as well as his disbelief in God and religions, nonetheless has suggested that human civilization may have been seeded by an alien civilization.

More strikingly, according to research by psychologists, belief in extraterrestrials is increasing in unprecedented ways. I myself found this to be the case, especially among contemporary technopreneurs (entrepreneurs who use technology to make an innovation or fill a need), just like Thomas. A belief that was once on the fringe now appears to be the new black. Spending a day with high-functioning believers—as I have done several times in the past few months as research for my book American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology—reveals a lot about how the increasing belief in nonhuman intelligence inspires our real world as well as our entertainment.

                 Riz Virk

Perhaps the first technopreneur who has long been “out” concerning his belief in UFOs is Jacques Vallée, who worked on ARPANET (the proto-internet), a program funded by the military. In fact, he was working on this new technology while experimenting with telepathic phenomena, what some would call “woo-woo” science. Vallée was so well known for his study of UFOs that Steven Spielberg asked him to consult on the set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (the French scientist played by François Truffaut in the movie is based on Vallée). He was one of the first vocal technologists to advocate for the study of UFOs, and he paved the way for a slew of other Silicon Valley scientists and biotechnologists who believe that the secret to their success is alien technology—in other words, artifacts found at alleged alien spacecraft crash sites or information provided to them through mental downloads.

                            Garry Nolan

The gaming expert, technologist, and investor Rizwan Virk confirms this new direction in the belief and practices associated with UFOs. In an article on the website Hacker Noon, he wrote, “I can say that I have personally spoken to researchers from top universities (Stanford, MIT, Harvard) who have seen the “artifacts” that the article references, and other similar ones that are even more secretive (and perhaps more functional).” In my own research, I have also met scientists who believe in these artifacts; I’ve even accompanied several of them on an expedition to an alleged alien crash site in New Mexico, which, I was told, was “not Roswell.” But I couldn’t tell you where, exactly, we were, as I was blindfolded so I wouldn’t be able to identify the location.

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