There is no Planet X--not at least, in the apocalypse- producing form that has been claimed for the past few years.
Nancy Leider, the voice of Zeta-Talk, has been saying for some time that this mythical monster was going to make a close pass on May 15, and wreak holy hell on earth. From her remarks on Coast to Coast AM on Friday, April 25, 2003, my impression is that she's apparently putting back the date of its arrival and saying that it won?t be as big a deal as she had originally been led to believe. She implied that the aliens she claims to channel have misled her for unknown reasons.
Nancy Leider has been the victim of a kind of millennialism that strikes many close-encounter witnesses. I know it well: it struck me, too.
Listen to my first hypnosis tape and you can hear it slamming me literally right between the eyes. However, a problem arises when you associate it with specific dates and events. The attempt to focus it just does not work, and cannot work unless there is specific, physical evidence to focus it on.
There is no astronomical evidence that a large and destructive body is anywhere near our solar system, let alone moving through it.
However, various websites devoted to drawing people?s attention with scary stories have collected every possible mention of any unusual solar system event or discovery in order to create the impression that any report of anything unusual or new was proof that Planet X was out there. Photographs were breathlessly posted showing the incoming horror getting closer and closer. Ms. Leider evolved a theory that earth was visited by a cataclysmic event every 3,600 years?and never mind the historical record, or the fact that evolutionary biology would be in chaos if catastrophes actually took place so frequently.
As is usual in these cases, ?safety zones? were ballyhooed and, like fear?s camp-followers, food sites appeared selling Planet X survival packs.
I saw one of these incidents up close during the passage of the mega-comet Hale-Bopp. I was even blamed for some of it, because I went on the Art Bell program with remote viewing teacher Courtney Brown, who announced that his remote viewers had found that the Hale-Bopp comet was being followed by an object that was, in reality, a gigantic alien spaceship. But when he provided photographic proof to me, allegedly given to him by a ?deep-throat? astronomer friend who was keeping him informed sub-rosa, there was a crude digital ring drawn around the object, meaning that I could not subject the image to a simple test for authenticity.
So, instead, Art Bell and I simply published the image, only to be told almost immediately thereafter that it was from an astronomical telescope in Hawaii and had been doctored to show an object. Telescopes around the world than began saying that there was no object.
This surprised me very much, because just days before, I?d had a conversation with a spokesperson at Greenwich who had assured me that the object was there. In addition, there was plenty of amateur photography of it that appeared quite authentic. The Japanese National Observatory had even posted a photograph of it on their website weeks before the controversy erupted showing that the object had a gigantic ?something? sticking out of it.
The object was indeed there. In fact, months after, astronomers quietly began to discuss it, and notices were published about it in various places, including science magazines. But what was NEVER true was that there was any suggestion at all that the object was a gigantic alien mothership. This was simply the opinion of some remote viewers.
Astronomers should have simply told the truth: the object was there, it was probably some sort of plasma associated with the comet, or even a second cometary head, but it was not emitting any signals, it was not showing any signs of independent, guided motion, and in no way appeared to be a spacecraft.
But they dared not, because a fatal illogic had evolved in the hysteria of the situation: if you said that the object was there, then the media was going to scream that you believed that it was an alien spacecraft. Therefore, astronomers dared not speak the truth. Reason was throttled. Lives were lost.
The same sort of hysteria surrounds Planet X, but with one difference. Unlike the Hale-Bopp object, there is no natural phenomenon that actually fits the description of the rogue planet. So, Planet X believers have had to compensate. As a result, every little story of a new asteroid or some unknown phenomenon being observed in the solar system is being used to bolster the fallacy of Planet X. This collection of "news" convinces the gullible by implying that ordinary science is, in reality, providing evidence for an extraordinary claim that apparently has no real-world support.
Earth is discovered to have a ?bulge.? Planet X is identified as the cause. Another possible planet is discovered outside the orbit of Pluto. They?ve admitted it at last?Planet X is here.
But May 15 will come and go without Planet X?s arrival. In fact, the next claimed date and the one after that and the one after that?all of them will come and go without Planet X?s arrival.
How can I be so sure? For the simple reason that there is no orbital object recurring on a fast cycle that is causing destruction on earth. If there was, the world would be in chaos on a fast cycle, and it isn?t.
Certainly, there are upheavals and catastrophes on planet earth. Right now, we are in the throes of an extinction event that rivals the one that destroyed the dinosaurs. In fact, not only all of human history but all of human evolution has transpired during this extinction event. It has been going on for 2.8 million years, ever since Central America rose up out of the ocean and destabilized earth?s climate. Since then, the planet has been suffering repeated ice ages, with a concomitant loss of many species. This unstable environment has also caused natural selection to favor intelligence over every other adaptation, with the result that an overgrowth of the planet?s intelligent species?us?is causing other species to extinguish at about the same rate that they did as the era of the dinosaurs came to a close.
I can predict with certainty that, no matter what happens, earth?s environment will, in one way or another, return to its more normal state eventually, which is one of striking ecological stability and gradual, almost stately, species evolution. How long will it be before that happens? Oh, just the blink of an eye in geologic terms?perhaps two or three million years. Will mankind still be around then? Perhaps and perhaps not. One thing, though, is quite certain: if we cannot manage our planet in such a way that it can support our overgrowth, we will experience a dieback ourselves. Gods and aliens won?t be responsible. Neither will we. After all, in overbreeding, we?re only doing what nature designed us to do. During its evolution, our species has experienced continuous challenge. We are a product of environmental instability, and therefore are easy breeders. Human sexuality as it exists now evolved during a time when we were constantly threatened with extinction. Now our survival adaptation has become our greatest threat, greater by far than any alien invasion or rogue planet or whatever improbable catastrophe we may dream up to entertain our longing for change and release from the toils and responsibilities of everyday life.
I am sure that Ms. Leider is entirely sincere in her beliefs that she is talked to by aliens from Zeta Reticuli. Indeed, I wouldn?t be at all surprised if she doesn?t have some sort of contact with the same bizarre presence that has been in my life and the lives of millions of other human beings for millennia, and, in recent decades, with such striking force that it has, in many lives, taken on a very real and physical appearance.
And, indeed, if there is anything consistent about exposure to this presence, it is the atmosphere of apocalypse that accompanies the experience. I very well remember the early days of my experience, when I was just beginning to face its presence in my life. You can hear it in my first hypnosis: a man screaming in agony as he witnesses a horrific vision of the world exploding. There followed a haunting vision of the moon disintegrating, and many other visions of a similar ilk.
Do I dismiss them as hallucinations? I do, indeed. Do I think of them as prophecies? Most certainly?but for the same reason that all prophecies of catastrophe are true. Statistics don?t lie, and they show us that, at any given moment, there exists, to varying degrees, the possibility that a world-class catastrophe will take place. So, if I say, ?I predict that the world will end,? I am going to be right, without question. But if I say it?s going to happen next month, I?d better be sure of my facts, because the odds against my being right are very, very long.
Why would it be that the close encounter experience gives rise to intimations of apocalypse? It is because the visitation of these impossible and overwhelming presences creates a catastrophe of mind in us the same way that the visitation of the angel who inspired the Book of Revelation created a catastrophe in the mind of John. This happens because these presences overturn our understanding of what the world is and how it works. We gaze, suddenly, upon the lurid peaks of unknown being, and we see our whole world waver and fade before our eyes, and are cast away into confusion. It feels like the world is ending. What it actually means is that the mind, as we once knew it and lived it, is ending.
After the publication of the Book of Revelation, Christians all over the Roman Empire expected that Jesus was going to return any day. Generation to generation, every generation since has had this same expectation?that their particular situation contained the seeds of the end time. And, in every generation, they could have been right.
At the moment, a novel called Armageddon is number one on the bestseller list. No less an authority than Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, has just published a tightly-argued book, Our Final Century, suggesting that mankind might die back dramatically or even become extinct in the next hundred years. And in truth, there have been few generations since the Book of Revelations was written that could lay such cogent claim to being the generation of apocalypse.
Not since the middle years of the Roman Empire have there been so many doomsayers, or so strong a sense of change. Of course, the intimations of apocalypse that filled the world in those days were true: Rome fell. The Roman world, the Roman way of thought, the Roman universe, the Roman mind? all came crashing down to a dreadful end.
By the eighth century AD, Rome, which had been a city of more than a million five hundred years before, was a haunted ruin populated by a few thousand shepherds. Travel by road had all but disappeared in Europe. Money was forgotten. In all of Europe, there were probably under a thousand people who could read. It?s population was less than fifty percent of what it had been at Rome?s height.
So, the Roman era prophets of doom were right. The world as they had known it did indeed end. It was killed by two things: a long series of plagues and pestilences brought on by excessive population density and too much free travel, and a fundamental abandonment of the institutions of belief that had supported the traditional order of life.
Sound familiar? Well, if it doesn?t, it should, because our world is in the process of repeating the same cycle, only this time on a planetary scale. Witness AIDS and SARS?both of them went flying around the planet on aluminum wings. Rome?s diseases traveled on ox-carts, but the effect was the same: infection spread because the population was too dense. Maybe this time disease will not be the primary triggering factor of dieback. But dieback will happen, one way or another. It is always, and inevitably, the consequence of overpopulation. In Rome?s time, the world was mostly empty. But not the empire. The empire was suffering severe population stress even though its density was far less than is present now. This was because of the rude technologies available then made each person far more difficult to support than is true now, and the whole system therefore that much more vulnerable.
We, also, are at a point of crisis that is going to trigger a dieback, and, at the same time, our mind is changing. And we know it, each one of us, deep in the dark back rooms of our souls. Like the Romans, we know that our world doesn?t work. Like them, we can?t say exactly why.
Our old religious institutions, powerfully challenged by modern secular consciousness, are screaming.
Radical Islam, institutionally unable to cope with modern reality, answers by rejecting it altogether, seeking instead a return to an era and a level of general education when its holy book was above challenge.
Fringe elements of Christianity do the same, some even going so far as to attempt to influence world affairs in ways that they hope will trigger the dreamed of battle of Armageddon, with the result they will at last be able to leave this vale of challenges to their beliefs, and ascend in rapture to a heaven that was imagined long before the troublesome world of modern science was so much as a mote in the devil?s eye.
So, Ms. Leider can lay claim to the mantle of prophet, for her sense that great change is in the wind is almost certainly correct. But Planet X?and in just a matter of weeks? Fortunately for the rest of us, she?s being a little impatient. And, perhaps being exposed on an unconscious level to the ferocious terror associated with close encounter, she's trying to somehow contain her visions, to give them a comprehensible dimension, to find the reassurance of clear and finite structure in what is actually an indefinite, as-yet unfocused, but very, very real fear.
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