Back in the 1930s, there were a number of unusual events, as I reported in Solving the Communion Enigma, that perplexed the few people in the world who noticed them. One was the “ghost bomber” phenomenon that occurred over Scandinavia and concerned the Norwegian government enough for it to send out an expedition to search for what it seemed must have been a crashed plane. The expedition never returned. In the US, there were a number of incidents of descending lights, which were also thought to be crashing aircraft, but no debris was ever found.
Then, during World War II, flyers for the British, American and German Air Forces all reported what came to be known as “Foo Fighters.” After the war, a more definite focus began, extending to many events such as the Roswell crash, which finally left enough debris for the military to conclude, as General Arthur Exon put it to me, “everyone from Truman on down knew that what we had found was not of this world within 24 hours of our finding it.”
This is when the fundamental mistake began to be made. Because essentially all command level officers in both the US and British militaries had just come from fighting in the war, their immediate response to the appearance of strange lights in the sky, scatterings of debris and possibly biological remains was to assume that a military operation of unknown origin was under way
The actual depth and complexity of what was happening was not understood. Instead, an assumption was drawn that any presence behind these manifestations should be considered aggressive until proved otherwise, and it was decided that, if calls to land and parlay were ignored, then the assumption would be that the intrusion would be resisted.
At the same time, under national security laws in both the US and the UK, any and all real information about the subject of the strange lights was withheld, and all speculation that they might be anything other than natural phenomena or misapprehensions was denied and often derided. The public was left to imagine what might be going on. In addition, over the years, disinformation was injected into the public discourse designed to reinforce the idea that this was a hostile presence.
As a result, the public now faces a vast outpouring of confusion, exacerbated by false information injected both by official sources and con-artists.
This all started with the fear that a hostile force was involved. Whether that fear is substantial or groundless remains an unknown, at least to the public. But it is also based on a fundamental misapprehension of reality and, while there is evidence that the phenomenon is dangerous and at times very challenging, especially to the individual facing it alone in the night, the idea that it is divided into good vs. evil aliens, aliens vs humans, or any of those bifurcations is not an effective way of addressing it.
Instead of military officers and scientists who were chosen because they shared the same world view addressing it, it should have been addressed by experts in the human brain, in psychology, in philosophy and theories of knowledge, in myth and folklore and religious studies, and the fact that humanity was facing an enigma should have been made public from the beginning.
The phenomenon is at least as complex as we are, and is not divided into good vs. evil alien species any more than we divide ourselves into good vs. evil human beings . Even the habit of looking at the phenomenon as if it involves aliens interacting with humans is an oversimplification so profound that it is essentially fatal to any effort to understand that begins with that assumption.
It is, instead, lavishly nuanced and is even, to a degree, capable of being transformed from frightening and unhelpful to tolerable and useful by the stance that the person experiencing it chooses to take toward it. In my own experience, this takes years of persistent effort, consisting largely of a refusal to turn away and a continuing struggle to understand.
Assuming that it is divided into good and bad forces at war with one another is not a sufficiently complex way to deal with a complex presence. We must try to do better, and to accomplish that we must re-engage the whole phenomenon with our best and most appropriate academic and scientific tools, rather than leave it to assumptions about good and evil that were generated a generation ago in a world divided by a simple conflict, and a part of the human community, the military, that was trained and bound by duty to see reality across the soldier’s defense of the raised shield. We need to be careful, but we also need to be wise.