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Signs From Heaven
The spirit of science fiction
UFO Sightings and the Scientific Investigation of Them
The Six Kinds of UFO Encounters
Explanation of the UFO Phenomena
The Meaning of the UFOs

An Orthodox Christian Understanding of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)
Explanation of the UFO Phenomena

Dr. Jacques Vallee’s newest book on UFOs, The Invisible College, reveals what reputable scientific researchers are now thinking about them. He believes that we are now “very close” to understanding what they are. He notes that the idea of extraterrestrial intelligent life has in a few years become astonishingly fashionable, among scientists as well as fortune tellers, as a result of “a great thirst for contact with superior minds that will provide guidance for our poor, harassed, hectic planet.” He significantly sees that the idea of visitors from outer space has become the great myth or “wonderful untruth” of our times: “It has become very important for large numbers of people to expect visitors from outer space.”

Yet he finds it too naive to believe in this myth: “This explanation is too simple-minded to account for the diversity of the reported behavior of the occupants and their perceived interaction with human beings.” Dr. Hynek has noted that in order to explain the various effects produced by UFOs, we must assume that they are “a phenomenon that undoubtedly has physical effects but also has the attributes of the psychic world.” Dr. Vallee believes that “they are constructed both as physical craft (a fact which has long appeared to me undeniable) and as psychic devices, whose exact properties remain to be defined.” Actually, the theory that UFOs are not physical craft at all, but some kind of paraphysical or psychic phenomenon, was suggested by a number of researchers in the early 1950’s; but this opinion was largely submerged later, on the one hand by the cultists, with their insistence on the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs, and on the other hand by the official government explanations, which corresponded to the widespread popular view that the whole phenomenon was imaginary. Only lately have serious investigators begun to agree that UFOs, while having certain physical characteristics, cannot at all be explained as somebody’s space ships, but are clearly something of the paraphysical or occult realm.

Why, indeed, are so many UFO “landings” precisely in the middle of roads? Why do such fantastically advanced craft so often need “repairs”? Why do the occupants so often need to pick up rocks and sticks (over and over again for 25 years!), and to “test” so many people – if they are actually reconnaissance vehicles from another planet, as the humanoids usually claim? Dr. Vallee well asks whether the “visitors from outer space” idea might not “serve precisely a diversionary role in masking the real, infinitely more complex nature of the technology that gives rise to the sightings?” He believes “we are not dealing with successive waves of visitations from space. We are dealing with a control system.” “What takes place through close encounters with UFOs is control of human beliefs.” “With every new wave of UFOs, the social impact becomes greater. More young people become fascinated with space, with psychic phenomena, with new frontiers in consciousness. More books and articles appear, changing our culture.” In another book he notes that “it is possible to make large sections of any population believe in the existence of supernatural races, in the possibility of flying machines, in the plurality of inhabited worlds, by exposing them to a few carefully engineered scenes, the details of which are adapted to the culture and superstitions of a particular time and place.”

An important clue to the meaning of these “engineered scenes” may be seen in an observation often made by careful observers of UFO phenomena, especially CE-III and “contactee” cases: that they are profoundly absurd, or contain at least as much absurdity as rationality. Individual “Close Encounters” have absurd details, like the four pancakes given by a UFO occupant to a Wisconsin chicken-farmer in 1961; one of the pancakes was actually analyzed by the Food and Drug Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and was found to be of terrestrial origin. More significantly, the encounters themselves are strangely pointless, without clear purpose or meaning. A Pennsylvania psychiatrist has suggested that the absurdity present in almost all UFO close encounters is actually a hypnotic technique. “When the person is disturbed by the absurd or contradictory, and their mind is searching for meaning, they are extremely open to thought transference, to receiving psychic healing, etc.” Dr. Vallee compares this technique to the irrational koans of Zen masters, and notices the similarity between UFO encounters and occult initiation rituals which “open the mind” to a “new set of symbols.” All this points to what he calls “the next form of religion.”

Thus, UFO encounters are but a contemporary form of an occult phenomenon which has existed throughout the centuries. Men have abandoned Christianity and look for “saviours” from outer space, and therefore the phenomenon supplies images of spacecraft and space beings. But what is this phenomenon? Who is doing the “engineering,” and to what purpose?

Today’s investigators have already supplied the answers to at least the first two questions, although, being without competence in the realm of religious phenomena, they do not fully understand the significance of what they have found. One investigator, Brad Steiger, an Iowa college professor who has written several books on the subject, after a recent detailed study of the Air Force “Blue Book” files, concluded: “We are dealing with a multi-dimensional paraphysical pheno-menon, which is largely indigenous to planet Earth.” Drs. Hynek and Vallee have advanced the hypothesis of “earthbound aliens” to account for UFO phenomena, and speculate on “interlocking universes” right here on earth from which they might come, much as poltergeists produce physical effects while remaining them-selves invisible. John Keel, who began his UFO investigation as a skeptic and is himself an agnostic in religion writes: “The real UFO story… is one of ghosts and phantoms, and strange mental aberrations; of an invisible world which surrounds us and occasionally engulfs us… It is a world of illusion… where reality itself is distorted by strange forces which can seemingly manipulate space, time, and physical matter – forces which are almost entirely beyond our powers of comprehension… The UFO manifestations seem to be, by and large, merely minor variations of the age-old demonological phenomenon.”

In a recent bibliography of UFO phenomena prepared by the Library of Congress for the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the introduction states that “Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demonic possession and psychic phenomena which have long been known to theologians and parapsychologists.” Most UFO researchers are now turning to the occult realm and to demonology for insight into the phenomena they are studying.

Several recent studies of the UFOs by evangelical Protestants put all this evidence together and came to the conclusion that UFO phenomena are simply and precisely demonic in origin. The Orthodox Christian investigator can hardly come to a different conclusion. Some or many of the experiences, it may be, are the result of hoaxes or hallucinations; but it is simply impossible to dismiss all of the many thousands of UFO reports in this way. A great number of modern mediums and their spiritistic phenomena are also fraudulent; but mediumistic spiritism itself, when it is genuine, undeniably produces real “paranormal” phenomena under the action of the demons. UFO phenomena, having the same source, are no less real.

Case histories of people who have been drawn into contact with UFOs reveal the standard characteristics which go with involvement with demons in the occult realm. A police officer in southern California, for example, began to see UFOs in June 1966, and thereafter saw them frequently, almost always at night. After one “landing,” he and his wife saw distinct traces of the UFO on the ground. “During these weeks of tantalizing sightings, I became totally obsessed with the UFOs, convinced that something great was about to happen. I abandoned my daily Bible reading and turned my back on God as I began reading every UFO book I could lay my hands on… Many nights I watched in vain, trying to mentally communicate with what I then thought were extraterrestrial beings, almost praying to them to appear and establish some sort of contact with me.” Finally he had a “close encounter” with a “craft” some 80 feet in diameter, with rotating white, red, and green lights. It sped off and left him still expecting something great to happen – but nothing ever did happen, the UFOs ceased appearing, and in his frustration he turned to alcohol, depression, and thoughts of suicide, until his conversion to Christ ended this period of his life. People who have actually contacted the UFO beings have much worse experiences; the beings sometimes literally “possess” them and try to kill them when they resist. Such cases effectively remind us that, quite apart from the meaning of UFO phenomena as a whole, each UFO “close encounter” has the specific purpose of deceiving the individual who is contacted and leading him, if not to further contacts and spreading of the UFO “message,” then at least to personal spiritual confusion and disorientation.

The most puzzling aspect of UFO phenomena to most researchers – namely, the strange mingling of physical and psychic characteristics in them – is no puzzle at all to readers of Orthodox spiritual books, especially the Lives of Saints. Demons also have “physical bodies,” although the “matter” in them is of such subtlety that it cannot be perceived by men unless their spiritual “doors of perception” are opened, whether with God’s will (as in the case of holy men) or against it (as in the case of sorcerers and mediums).

Orthodox literature has many examples of demonic manifestations which fit precisely the UFO pattern: apparitions of solid beings and objects (whether demons themselves or their illusionary creations) which suddenly materialize and dematerialize, always with the aim of awing and confusing people and ultimately leading them to perdition. The Lives of the 4th-century St. Anthony the Great and the 3rd-century St. Cyprian the Former Sorcerer are filled with such incidents.

The Life of St. Martin of Tours (+397) by his disciple, Sulpicius Severus, has an interesting example of demonic power in connection with a strange physical manifestation which closely parallels today’s UFO “close encounters.” A certain youth named Anatolius became a monk near St. Martin’s monastery, but out of false humility he became the victim of demonic deception. He fancied that he conversed with “angels,” and in order to persuade others of his sanctity, these “angels” agreed to give him a “shining robe from out of heaven” as a sign of the “Power of God” that dwelt in the youth. One night at about midnight there was a tremendous thudding of dancing feet and a murmuring as of many voices in the hermitage, and Anatolius’ cell became ablaze with light. Then came silence, and the deceived one emerged from his cell with the “heavenly” garment. “A light was brought and all carefully inspected the garment. It was exceedingly soft, with a surpassing luster, and of a brilliant scarlet, but it was impossible to tell the nature of the material. At the same time, under the most exact scrutiny of eyes and fingers it seemed to be a garment and nothing else.” The following morning, Anatolius’ spiritual father took him by the hand in order to lead him to St. Martin to discover whether this was actually a trick of the devil. In fear, the deceived one refused to go, “and when he was being forced to go against his will, between the hands of those who were dragging him the garment disappeared.” The author of the account (who either witnessed the incident himself or had it from eyewitnesses) concludes that “the devil was unable to keep up his illusions or conceal their nature when they were to be submitted to Martin’s eyes.” “It was so fully within his power to see the devil that he recognized him under any form, whether he kept to his own character or changed himself into any of the various shapes of spiritual wickedness” – including the forms of pagan gods and the appearance of Christ Himself, with royal robes and crown and enveloped in a bright red light.

It is clear that the manifestations of today’s “flying saucers” are quite within the “technology” of demons; indeed, nothing else can explain them as well. The multifarious demonic deceptions of Orthodox literature have been adapted to the mythology of outer space, nothing more; the Anatolius mentioned above would be known today simply as a “contactee.” And the purpose of the unidentified object in such accounts is clear: to awe the beholders with a sense of the mysterious, and to produce “proof” of higher intelligences (“angels,” if the victim believes in them, or “space visitors” for modern men), and thereby to gain trust for the message they wish to communicate. We shall look at this message below.

A demonic kidnapping quite close to UFO abductions is described in the Life of St. Nilus of Sora, the 15th-century founder of skete life in Russia. Some time after the saint’s death there lived in his monastery a certain priest with his son. Once, when the boy was sent on some errand, “suddenly there came to him a certain strange man who seized him and carried him, as if on the wind, into an impenetrable forest, bringing him into a large room in his dwelling and placing him in the middle of this cabin, in front of the window.” When the priest and the monks prayed for St. Nilus’ help in finding the lost boy, the saint “came to the boy’s aid and stood before the room where the boy was standing, and when he struck the window-frame with his staff the building was shaken and all the unclean spirits fell to the earth.” The saint told the demon to return the boy to the place from which he had taken him, and then became invisible. Then, after some howling among the demons, “the same strange one seized the boy and brought him to the skete like the wind… and placing him on a haystack, he became invisible.” After being seen by the monks, “the boy told them everything that happened to him, what he had seen and heard. And from that time this boy became very humble, as if he had been stupefied. The priest out of terror left the skete with his son.” In a similar demonic kidnapping in 19th-century Russia, a young man, after his mother cursed him, became the slave of a demon “grandfather” for 12 years and was capable of appearing invisibly among men in order to help the demon sow confusion in their midst.

Such true stories of demonic activity were commonplace in earlier centuries. It is a sign of the spiritual crisis of today that modern men, for all their proud “enlightenment” and “wisdom,” are becoming once more aware of such experiences – but no longer have the Christian framework with which to explain them. Contemporary UFO researchers, seeking an explanation of phenomena which have become too noticeable to overlook any longer, have joined today’s psychic researchers in an attempt to formulate a “unified field theory” that will encompass psychic as well as physical phenomena. But such researchers only continue the approach of “enlightened” modern men and trust their scientific observations to give answers in a spiritual realm that cannot be approached objectively at all, but only with faith. The physical world is morally neutral and may be known relatively well by an objective observer; but the invisible spiritual realm comprises beings both good and evil, and the objective observer has no means of distinguishing one from the other unless he accept the revelation which the invisible God has made of them to man. Thus, today’s UFO researchers place the Divine inspiration of the Bible on the same level as the satanically inspired automatic writing of spiritism, and they do not distinguish between the actions of angels and those of demons. They know now (after a long period when materialistic prejudices reigned among scientists) that there is a non-physical realm that is real, and they see its effects in UFO phenomena; but as long as they approach this realm scientifically, they will be just as easily deceived by the unseen powers as the most naive “contactee.” When they try to determine who or what is behind the UFO phenomena, and what the purpose of the phenomena might be, they are forced to indulge in the wildest speculations. Thus Dr. Vallee confesses himself baffled whether the source of UFO manifestations might be a morally neutral “unattended clockwork,” a benevolent “solemn gathering of wise men” (as the extraterrestrial myth would have us believe), or “a terrible superhuman monstrosity the very contemplation of which would make a man insane,” that is, the activity of demons.

A true evaluation of the UFO experience may be made only on the basis of Christian revelation and experience, and is accessible only to the humble Christian believer who trusts these sources. To be sure, it is not given to man entirely to explain the invisible world of angels and demons; but enough Christian knowledge has been given us to know how these beings act in our world and how we should respond to their actions, particularly in escaping the nets of the demons. UFO researchers have come to the conclusion that the phenomena they have studied are essentially identical with phenomena that used to be called “demonic”; but only the Christian – the Orthodox Christian, who is enlightened by the Patristic understanding of Scripture and the 2000-year experience of Saints’ encounters with invisible beings – is able to know the full meaning of this conclusion.

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