UFOs, Phantom Helicopters and Contemporary Panics.
Peter Rogerson and John Harney

In Merseyside UFO Bulletin, volume 6, number 2, August 1973, Peter Rogerson wrote:


A few weeks ago, in a collection of clippings on UFO events, loaned to me by Nigel Watson, I discovered a very revealing little news item from the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph of May 2, 1972:


Illegal Immigrans Suspected.

Lincolnshire police were alerted to be on the look out for illegal immigrants during the early hours of this morning after an unidentified light aircraft was believed to have landed somewhere between Laceby and Barnoldby-Le-Beck. The aircraft was picked up on the radar screen at RAF Waddington shortly before midnight last night. A few minutes later it went off the radar screen between Barnoldby and Laceby. The police were notified and a number of patrol cars diverted to the area to search for the mystery plane. Within 25 minutes every farm and possible landing strip in the area had been checked, but-police drew a blank. A spokesman said: “If an aircraft were to land, it would need at least a reasonably flat meadow and landing lights, but so far we have found nothing.”

Checking stations

Today the police and RAF experts are studying a report on last night’s sighting, and are checking at other radar stations along the coast to see if they picked up any light aircraft activity in the Humber during the night. The police spokesman added: “If the plane did not actually land, but just went under Waddington’s radar screen, it must have been picked up in an adjoining areas. We are not letting this matter rest.”

It is clear that all that was picked up on the radar were some anomalous blips. There was no evoidence to suggest that these blips were produced by a light aircraft, and certainly no reason to suppose that they were proof that illegal immigrants were being smuggled into the country.

What is very striking is the way in which explanations of random anomalies undergo fashions. A few years ago such an echo would have been eagerly interpreted as an extraterrestrial spaceships now it is illegal immigrants. Neither explanation could possibly be justified on the evidence available.

One of the most terrifying things that people can be confronted with is the randoms disturbing event. Faced with one or many such events, there is a general tendency among people to try to fit them into a convenient pattern. Any pattern, however irrational and capricious is better than no pattern at all. Therefore there is a great impetus to see ‘meanings’ behind world events, to hold, for example, that disturbing social change is generated by malevolent conspiracies or to see portents and archetypes in random lights in the sky.

In his book Folk Devils and Moral Panics the sociologist Stanley Cohen discusses the sort of ‘frame of reference’ by which random events are ‘patternised’. The example he chooses is that of the Mods and Rockers panic of 1964, and he points out that a number of quite unrelated events were incorporated into the Mods and Rockers mythology. For example a perfectly ‘ordinary’ climbing accident was headlined in one paper ‘Death of a Mod’. It was also very difficult for people to accept that the outbreaks were examples of random, spontaneous violence. This led to the development of fantastic rumours to the effect that teenage disturbances were being planned at some secret headquarters, or were being fomented by Russian secret agents.

Similar situations develop in the so-called flap areas, where all sorts of minor, random events which under normal conditions would not be noticed, are interpreted as part of the dominant ‘frame of reference’ which in this case is the UFO phenomenon. Within one flap in the North West of England, investigated by a UFO researcher with whom I am acquainted, a variety of random events, such as the disappearance of a dog, were seen as part of the UFO ‘happenings’. In extreme examples such as Warminster, almost any kind of odd random event is seen in terms of the ‘Thing’, and added to the chronicle of the myth.

However the UFO frame of reference is a relatively weak one, still, in popular consciousness, and is easily replaced by other and more immediate threats. The fear of illegal immigrants is clearly a more powerful ‘folk devil’ than any little green man from Mars, and as such his machinations can be seen behind a variety of phenomena often regarded as ufological. For example, some time last year a motorist reported that he had seen, at night, a helicopter land, a car drive up, and several illegal immigrants get out and enter the car. He claimed he could clearly see that the driver of the car was a Pakistani. Unfortunately, he could not possibly have seen the scene in the amount of detail he gave, at that time of night. Indeed the whole story possessed just that air of ‘mystery’ many UFO stories have.

Later, in MUFOB volume 6, number 4, John Harney reported on a new outbreak of phantom aircraft:


Reports in national and local newspapers about a mysterious helicopter making night flights around parts of North West England seen to have been sparked off by incidents involving Cheshire and Derbyshire police in the early hours of Monday 14 January. Cheshire police had a report of a helicopter and were said to have “kept it under observation for some time”. Derbyshire police were informed when the mysterious machine was thought to be heading their way. They are said to have sighted it in the Cat and Fiddle area around dawn.

During the week following 14 January numerous similar reports were published in the press. The phenomena seemed to be centred around the village of Goostrey, Cheshire (near Jodrell Bank). By 22 January, however, the national newspapers had dropped the subject.In spite of police spokesmen and others insisting that the helicopter was real, and reports that the sightings were being investigated at a high level by the Special Branch, it was obvious quite early on that there was no real helicopter behind most of the reports, as they bore all the characteristics of a typical UFO flap.

An obvious clue to the imaginary nature of the helicopter was the vague and inconsistent nature of the published reports. It was said for instances that the machine was seen only at night, yet reports insisted that the helicopter carried no identification markings. Fantastic theories were put forward to suggest reasons for an unidentified, night-flying helicopter.

The Daily Telegraph of 16 January reporteds

“Yesterday more theories flourished about the phantom helicopter. It has already been linked with sheep rustlings smuggling, illegal immigrants and IRA gun and bomb squads. Now it is thought that it might be a ‘home-made helicopter’ which the owner, unable to obtain an air worthiness certificates is flying, and dangerously so – at night or, it is suggested it might be a modern – and wealthy – lover who finds it the most convenient way to reach his mistress or girlfriend”.

However, an item in the Daily Mail on 21 January reported the increasing doubts by senior police officers as to the helicopter’s reality. It also reports “Professor John Cohen, head of the psychology department at Manchester University, said that the first reports of the phantom may have started a rash of them, It is contagious, he said. ‘Plant an idea and you get a kind of visual epidemic’”.

Newspapers on 19 January, reported a further developments motorists on the A51 near Duddon, Tarporley, Cheshire witnessed the landing of an ‘unmarked’ helicopter just before 5 p.m, on 18 January. Nearby was a farmhouse with a white Ford Escort parked in the driveway. As the helicopter took off the car drove out of the driveway. Unlike many of the other reports this one turned out to be a sighting of a real helicopter. The Manchester Evening News (19 January) reported that the machine belonged to the Ferranti company and had landed near Tarporley on a journey north from London, to drop off a passenger.Some time after the flap had died down, there were reports of helicopters seen or heard flying at night in the Merseyside area. These reports were confirmed when they were identified as military helicopters, engaged on various activities. Apparently military helicopters do quite a bit of night-flying, in contrast with civil helicopters, which rarely do so.

To sum up, a fairly typical UFO flap, with a few real helicopters thrown in to confuse matters still further.


Fairies and Fireballs.
Peter Rogerson

left-frameFrom MUFOB New Series 9, Winter 1977-78

A Moravian fairy-tale communicated to GEPA, the well-known French UFO group, by a Mr Chaloupek, relates how, one day in the mid seventeenth century in the village of Chechy Pod Kosirem, near Prostejov, the village baker’s daughter was delivering some milk-rolls to the castle. In a turning she met a strange little man who sprung up in front of her. He siezed the three rolls, bit into one of them then spat it out in disgust. He did this with the other two rolls, before disappearing back into the woods. Shortly afterwards she saw a fireball rise up into the sky (1).

The little man was probably a water-nix, and there is surely some significance in the mystic three rolls. His rejection of the rolls acts as a mirror image of the traditional need to reject fairy food. Presumably the rolls are as tasteless to nixes as the fairy chocolate was to the unfortunate motorcyclist of Les Routiers

Fairies have been associated with fireballs in more recent times. One wild and stormy night in 1948 a shepherd was sheltering from the storm with his sheep, in a hut near Yaste Monastery near the town of Garganta Il Olla, Spain. He heard voices outside, and on opening the door saw a small man, who he invited in. Only when the being stood warming himself before the newly lit fire did the poor shepherd realise that his visitor had a very develish cloven hoof. He screamed in panic, and ‘Pan’ fled through the door. Only then did he see the fairy fireball ascending into the stormy sky. The poor man was now convinced that he had had a visitor from regions somewhat warmer than sunny Spain! He became a fervent churchgoer! (3)

This, incidentally, was not the first Magonia-inspired conversion in Garganta la Ollo. Fourteen years previously, in October 1934, an old lady saw a strange being in a silver suit, and a voice “in her head” announced the birth of her grandson. As she ran towards this being it vanished. When she found the grandchild had indeed been born, she demanded he be christened ‘Angel’. (4)

In view of the satyr-like qualities of the Spanish fireball fairy, it is significant that Hartland (5) mentions a Moravian tale of a bride who shuts herself up every eighth day. When her husband peeps through a keyhole, he behold her thighs clad with fur, and her feet those of a goat.

The classic case of a fireball fairy is that seen by children of Premanon, who in September 1954 (again on a rainy night) met a walking ‘sugar cube’. One of the startled youngsters receiving an electric shock from this bionic boggart! As at Yuste Monastery, the fairy left in a luminous reddish fireball which left marks on the ground, including a fairy-ring of flattened grass (6).

The fairy fireball is perhaps the traditional will of the wisp, which is also said to signify the presence of fairies. I am sure that there are traditional stories of fairies seeking shelter from storms, though I cannot find any to hand. Perhaps one of our kind readers can help?


  1. Communication from Alma Camard.
  2. FSR, volume 21, number 6, page 20.
  3. Ballester-Olmos. Catalogue of Type I UFO Reports in Spain and Portugal. Case 7.
  4. Ballester-Olmos. op. cit., case 4.
  5. HARTLAND, Edwin S. The Science of Fairytales; an Enquiry into Fairy Mythology. Methuen,1925.
  6. VALEE, Jacques and Janine. Challenge to Science. Spearman, 1967.


Psychological Theories of UFOs
Peter Rogerson

Originally published in Merseyside UFO Bulletin,
volume 4, number 4, September/October 1971

During the past 2-3 years there has been a growing interest in, and discussion of, possible psychological interpretations of UFO phenomena, this being provoked by the growing ‘strangeness’ of the ever accumulating body of evidence. It is only natural that this departure should have provoked strong criticism, not to say scepticism in some quarters.

The most serious critique of psychological theories advanced to date is the series of three articles by Carl Grove in BUFORA Journal: ‘Psychological Theories and their Defects’, (hereafter PT) (1); ‘Hoax and Hallucination – the Evidence’, (HH) (2); and ‘Jung and the UFOs’, (JU) (3). In these articles Grove raises a number of specific criticisms of the psychological theories that have been advanced to date, and also any that May be advanced in the future. It is hoped in this article to answer each point specifically.

Grove is quite right in rejecting pseudo-psychological hypotheses which regard UFO phenomena as journalistic sensations, and percipients as alcoholics. Such ideas are not however those that serious proponents of psychological theories are talking about. We can limit discussion in the main to the possibility of hallucination as a cause of UFO experiences. This can be done under two heads:

  • (a) Can hallucination take place under the conditions under which UFO percipience allegedly takes place, and can psychologically normal people be hallucinated?
  • (b) Is there anything in the accounts of UFO percipience that would automatically eliminate hallucination?

With regard to (a) Grove tends to suggest the answer is ’no’, on the grounds that hallucinations are uncommon, and occur in definite psychological states – sensory restriction, sleep deprivation, psychotic and neurophysiological abnormality, drug intake and deep hypnotic trance. (PT) These views are only partly correct. In fact hallucination of a simple and undramatic kind probably occurs at least once in everyone’s lifetime, With some people hallucinations may occur several times and with a small proportion of the population hallucinations are more or less frequent – ostensible clairvoyants and trance mediums, for example, Here, of course, we are approaching the boundaries of psychosis. The evidence collected by psychologists suggests that about 15% of the population tend to be hallucinators. It would be interesting to know if high hallucinator subjects are also deep trance hypnotics.

The hallucinations that ‘normal’ people experience tend to be fleeting affairs, they do not have the complexity and behavioural changes that are associated with psychotic conditions.  The closest comparison between UFO percipience and acknowledged hallucinations occurs in the field of apparitions which are generally reported by psycholocically ‘normal’ people in the course of everyday activity. The evidence collected by parapsychologists discounts the view that hallucinations are confined to extreme psychological conditions. But even if this were not the case, the criteria suggested by Grove are capable of a far more liberal interpretation than may be envisaged at first glance. Sensory restriction hallucinations are by no means confined to ‘black room’ restriction (such as that used in astronaut training) though hallucinations in total sensory restriction are  extremely vivid and complex. Motorists driving through monotonous scenery or at night often experience very vivid hallucinations; indeed they may enter completely trance-like states, a fact which is recognised as a significant cause of major accidents. Such a condition, especially in a deep trance subject, may be the cause of many of the dramatic UFO reports involving night drivers.

Hallucinations can be produced by a variety of chemical substances. Carbon monoxide in trace amounts, if inhaled over a long period can produce hallucinations and psychotic reactions; reduction in oxygen supply can produce similar results. It is also true that no definite opinion on the cause of schizophrenia exists. There seems to be as much evidence that it is caused by chemical changes in the body as by emotional causes. It may thus be that pollution is as significant a cause of the rapid growth of mental illness as is the ‘pace of modern living’. It may be that some flaps in agricultural areas are the results of some very unpleasant side effects of modern insect sprays.

There can be little doubt that the ‘silent contactees’ described by Keel and others are psychotic subjects. The symptoms described are classic symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. Keel has claimed that the majority of Type I percipients he has interviewed are suffering from these after effects. If this claim can be substantiated it would indicate that either the percipients have experienced a traumatic event which has caused a psychotic reaction, or that Type I percipience may be a preliminary sign of psychosis. Therefore we would be justified in concluding that hallucination can take place under conditions described by UFO percipients.

Specific Objections to the Psychological Hypothesis

  • That collective percipience rules out hallucination as collective hallucination is impossible (PT).

While the evidence for mass hallucination is not conclusive, it is by no means negligible. The Fatima case is a striking example. It would be almost impossible to envisage any objective thing which would be visible to only a certain number of a contiguous group. Cases of collectively perceived apparitions are by no means a complete rarity. Tyrrell (4) counted 130 such cases and gave a number of examples. He and most other parapsychologists have regarded such cases as hallucinations generated by parapsychological interaction. Alternatives to such a viewpoint have never had much success, and were often little more than meaningless phrase. The notion of parapsychological interaction has a wide measure of acceptance in psychological circles, and has far more evidential blacking than the claims of ETH ufology.

  • That physical traces, photos radar tracks etc., rule out hallucinations (PT, HH).

Despite Groves’ statement that such traces occur in a significant number of cases, they are in fact quite rare. Alan Sharp has given convincing alternative explanations for several crater reports. In view of this, ground effects, unaccompanied by visual reports can be automatically discarded. In the case of visual/ground effect reports a general sequence takes place. The witness ostensibly perceives an object; later he finds curious marks at the spot. It is a natural reaction to suggest that the ‘object’ caused the marks, but there is often no convincing evidence for this. It is equally likely that the ground markings were already there, subconsciously noted, and later woven into a hallucinatory experience.

Of the 2000 plus photographs probably loss than twenty are of any interest at all. ‘Totally convincing’ UFO photographs have been convincingly explained as fakes, at such a rate as to make us wonder if any photographs are of evidential value. Even the McMinnville photographs have had serious doubts cast on their authenticity. My only conclusion is that unless photographs are taken under the most stringent and well documented conditions, such as have not, to my knowledge, yet been met such evidence can not be regarded as worthy of serious consideration. Radar tracks are of a similar nature, they are few in number, but puzzling. There seems little reason to believe that they must represent the same phenomenon as say, landings. It does not seem totally unreasonable to suggest that curious radar tracks may themselves be the result of hallucination.

  • That UFO reports predominate in rural areas, whereas it would be expected that psychological stimuli would predominate in urban areas (HH).

Grove’s prediction is quite incorrect. Hallucinatory conditions are more likely in relaxed rural atmospheres, where there is less sensory stimulation, leading to dreamlike states, than in noisy urban conditions. In this respect the UFO phenomenon is entirely consistent with the hallucination hypothesis.

  • That periodicity, especially the Mars synodic period cycle, is incompatible with the hallucination hypothesis (HH)

D. Knight (5) has shown that Fortean phenomena show a relationship with the Mars cycle. A variety of natural phenomena seem to show similar cyclical variations. Perhaps minute changes in the earth’s electromagnetic field can catalyse hallucinations in certain people. As for other statistical evidence, this writer is not a mathematician and will forbear comment.

  •  That no proven case of hallucination in reliable UFO witnesses exists

A number of clearly hallucinatory cases exists, though the percipients may not be regarded as reliable by Grove. Both Schonher (6) and Keel (7) have pointed out evidence suggesting that Type I cases are of a hallucinatory nature. Several of Vallée’s cases (8) are not capable of an objective explanation. As such witnesses can always be regarded as unreliable such cases tend to got ‘swept under the carpet’. Vallée now also concludes that entity reports do show regional/temporal variations. (8)

Jung and the UFOs

Jung suggested that UFOs are archetypal, symbols in a collective unconscious (9). Grove criticises this (JU) on the grounds that archetypes cannot be inherited genetically. There is little reason to suppose that Jung ever thought that they were, in a literal sense. Jung always regarded the ‘collective subconscious’ as an immaterial in a dualistic sense. Similarly the importance of archetypes in no way relates to their ultimate origin. However laboratory experiments on rats suggest that under certain conditions learning may be inherited. Tradition handed down from the earliest clan communities of Homo Erectus, until the advent of mass media may well have modified genetic structure. Jung’s hypotheses were not created to ‘explain’ the UFO phenomenon as was the ETH; thus one could say that the ETH violates Occam’s Razor. To say that a hypothesis is ‘suspect’ because it explains a phenomenon, yet  violates commonsense, is a curious novelty. It is difficult to see how the theory ofrelativity, for example, could have emerged under such a principle.

A significant number of psychoanalysts still adhere to  Jung’s ideas,The psychologists however have no such set of accepted views; enormous controversies still surround all psychological theorising.


Any general interpretation of the UFO phenomenon will have to violate the generally accepted ‘laws’ of physics, psychology, or both. At the present psychology is much less rigid than physics, therefore novel psychological theories are more plausible than any concept which jolts the laws of physics. The only serious critique of the psychological hypothesis, that of Carl Grove contains a number of unfounded statements and over generalisations, and thus has not established its case.



  1. Grove, Carl. ‘UFOs, Psychological theories and their defects’. BUFORA Journal, vol. 2, no. 11, spring 1970, pp. 3-5
  2. Grove, Carl. ‘Hoax and hallucination, the evidence’. BUFORA Journal, vol. 2, no. 12, summer 1970, pp. 3-5.
  3. Grove, Carl. ‘Jung and the UFOs’. BUFORA Journal, vol. 3, no. 2, winter 1970, pp. 3-5
  4. Tyrell, G.N.M. Apparitions, 2nd ed., Duckworth, 1953.
  5. Knight, Damon. Charles Fort, Prophet of the Unexplained, Gollancz, 1971.
  6. Schoenherr, Luis. ‘Question of reality’, FSR, vol. 17, no. 3.
  7. Keel, John. ‘A perfect apparition’, FSR, vol. 17, 3.
  8. Vallée, Jacques. Passport to Magonia. Regnery, 1969
  9. Jung, Carl. Flying Saucers, a Modern Myth of Things seen in the Skies.

 Carl Grove responded to this article HERE

A Panorama of Ufological Visions
Peter Rogerson

From MUFON, new series 3, Summer 1976

When the last article I wrote for MUFOB was being written in the Autumn of 1973 a great wave was about to break in the USA. That wave at a time of great crisis, marked a turning point in our perception of the UFO phenomena. I look back on those days as the last days of innocence when one could believe that some simple, rational, explanation of the phenomena was possible. In the two and a half years since I have corresponded with a former doyen of ‘scientific ufology’ who believes that all intellectual speculation on the subject is pointless; with a ufologist who has faced Magonia, and perhaps seen behind its mask: with members of the ‘Invisible College’, and UFO researchers who feel there is an answer round the corner.

John Rimmer and I have spoken with a young woman who has encountered a UFO and its occupants in her bedroom, I have heard from a man who believes disc jockeys are reading his mind, and entered the boundary of a UFO flap area. I have spoken there with a ‘silent contactee’ to whom has been revealed the secrets of the Cosmos, which he may not reveal; listened to tales of miracles and poltergeists, of a young girl driven almost to suicide by the psychic impressions which overwhelm her.

Look at the films of the two years past: Earthquake, Towering Inferno, Jaws, The Exorcist – visions of a chaos to come. Who, in the days of innocence, would have believed that the whole of Western rationalist tradition could be threatened by a movie; or that a man could kill his wife, inspired by a medieval world view. In no sense can this dark artistic vision be separated from the matrix of folklore in which it is germinated. 1973 was the year of Uri Geller, that strange charismatic figure who set the spoons spinning, bent forks, and read minds. Geller incarnated our secret desires of omnipotence, the power to dominate things to our will, to liberate ourselves from the laws of physics – and other rules too? Uri was the voice of SPECTRA, the idiot computer god of our worst fears. The computer is god, the mad computer god rules our poor alienated lives. The game, the experiwent, the rat in the maze become the symbols of the new humanity “beyond freedom and dignity” in a universe where the ultimate secret is an absurd scientific formula.

As rats in the maze, Hickson and Palmer were imprisoned in the strange inhuman machine, where the all-seeing eye of God or Big Brother surveyed them. ‘Laboratory rats’ is what Dr Harder said, rats in the maze to be examined by the robots of the dark future.

And 1973 was the year of Bigfoot, the archaic force that resides in the recesses of our soul. He comes with the UFOs, too. The law of gravity is shattered, the dream laughs at us. Bigfoot comes with trickster god raven on his shoulder.

A new rumour arises, from Utah to Rhodesia – a young couple driving in some deserted place enter a strange shadow, where all the streets are deserted, strange figures prowl the landscape. The journey is into the badlands, a wasteland of the soul, where the sun never rises. The car behind you has no driver but eyes are on you. Or you find yourself in a strange alien landscape, the sky all wrong. A sort of machine speaks in your mind, telling of wonders untold. But no bird is in the sky, and no human figure to be seen.

The day of judgement is at hand, next year if not this. But we are the prophets, there is a paradise awaiting you in the hollow womb of mother earth, and you are the chosen ones.  The flood is coming, but we are the emissaries of the space brothers, say the two. Like the cosmic twins, they will lead the chosen ones to the new place of emergence, a paradise derived from a syncretistic vision of Kurt Vonnegut and L Ron Hubbard. Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughter House Five – remember Charles Manson. Rumour has it that some who follow The Two will never reach paradise, they lie beneath desert sand.

Helicopters fly the night sky, what do they carry – terrorists who will blow up our cities, foreigners who will take away our way of life; Russian agents who stir up trouble, or Satanists who will drink the blood of our cattle. Whatever, it bodes no good, fear is contagious. Maybe the greenies will come in time? Another rumour, the real reason that the Condon Committee failed: a strange being landed in a New Mexico airfield, and has already established communication with leading scientific and military figures. Yet another rumour: alien forces have already seized control of our centres of power, an outside force directs our history. Rumours, dreams of alienation and loss of control. Time is short, the clock on the wall of AVB’s spaceship has no hands. “What time is it” asks the spaceman. “2.30″, the witness replies. “You lie, it is 4.30″. “I know they’re spacemen”, says Cathie Ropers, “They touch their watches end the memories come back”. The evening is nearer than you think.

The poetry of the absurd: a ufologist hands round a photograph of a cog-wheel in a flower bed. A hoax? or unconscious art? Another ufologist has a photograph of a rock: “Can’t you see the faces on the rock?”. A strange metal sphere lands on a Yorkshire moor, inside is a scroll. By some magical means it is deciphered to reveal a pseudo-scientific cosmic scenario. A contactee is taken from a hilltop, shown around the solar system, then deposited at his back-door. A few years earlier he was a central character in a poltergeist case. He is levitated, a voice speaks through him: “I am monk who has left something undone.” Levitation and ascents to cosmic regions are traditional feats of the shaman; our contactee is a shaman and healer.

Ghosts walk through walls, poltergeists throw chairs. A giant flying saucer lands on a bridge, which spans a river haunted by a phantom ferry, near a road on which a white lady walks, and a phantom rider rides. The building is haunted, a shadow crosses a girls mind, the air goes cold. Like a shadow obscuring consciousness, a shadow across the sunlight.

We come from Kansas – everywhere, says the air-ship captain. Tomorrow Cuba. Cuba is fighting for the new world against the old, the future is coming, liberation is at hand. We are free, we can fly, we can drop bombs, napalm. The airship people are nice people, an old man, a couple and a child… or are they? They are talking about a new gun, 60,000 rounds a minute. They begin to look different: Japs, the Yellow Peril. Then they are very different, angels or devils, butchers. Perhaps that is not the road to freedom after all…

In the quiet of the country the ship of souls lands, Adam and Eve as they were before the fall. They are a celestial couple. Perhaps they are the sky father and the earth mother, a vision of the eternal counterpointing, the fall into chaos. The ship of souls comes from a unknown country – “The Mountains of Montezuma”, there is a hint of another liberation, ancient America is about to throw off its colonial history. “We are the lost tribes of Israel, we live at the South Pole”, a lost part of our humanity returns.

“I am from Venus”, says the visitor, the messenger from the morning and evening star, guardian of the boundary between night and day, the conscious and the unconscious. The watcher at the threshold is a symbol of transcendence. Only by transcending the gulf between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the psyche can man find a solution, warns Jerome Clark. Otherwise the Dionysian aspects of our spirit will sweep aside our safe, rational world. Humanity is on the brink of a chasm, says Charles Muses… a flying saucer hovers above… our only home. “Do you want a lift?”

The vision of Fatima, the great Earth Mother, Isis, Pachemama the lady of the corn, lady of creation and destruction. The sun spins in the sky, falls to earth – a dance of fertility, the lord of heaven torn from his high place. Phaeton having lost control of the power that is beyond his cope. In the name of Fatima the armies march: Salazar, Franco, the Spanish Civil War, the Legions of the Virgin. In the name of Fatima the lords of misrule burn up Europe. In the name of Fatima the Ustasi of Croatia create to most barbaric regime in all history. As I write this I begin to wonder if the final “blessing” of Fatima will be the race war which may engulf all Africa.

I have a vision, says Idi Amin, I have had a call from Allah; a great mission has been entrusted to me, a UFO has landed on Lake Uganda; this is a confirmation of my mission. I know when I shall die, until that appointed hour I am indestructible.

“A great ball of fire came from the sky, it entered my body, then I saw all things clearly, as if from a great height. Thus I knew that I was to be a shaman”. The durne-fire, bringer of the gifts of tongues and healing, the beam of light which struck Uri Geller, or Edgar Cayce. “I saw a light through the wall – I was afraid ’cause I thought it was burglars, but they said they were from Christ”.

When I was a child of two I had a dream. I dreamt there was a sort of light on the wall and a voice was talking in my head. No memory remains of what was said, but I awoke in terror, and the vision had remained ever since.

When he was a young child the Polish medium, Iduski, retreated into a sort of tent made of household furniture. There a great mole came and initiated him into the mole-kingdom. When his playmates went with him into the tent/womb they heard strange knockings and voices.

Celia Green and Charles MoCreary have proposed a new theory of apparitions – not only is the apparition the hallucination, but so is the whole experience; they argue there is no essential difference between apparitional and ‘out of the body’ experiences.

A couple drive through Yorkshire. They see in the early hours a sort of glow in a field by the road. They stroll out to investigate. Only a few yards away is a huge cylinder, “like a melon”. Suddenly an opening appears, giving off a light “like a sustained photographers flash”. They run away end drive off. During this experience they noticed a strange thing, there was an absolute silence, no night sounds at all. This little-commented feature appears in UFO story after story.


By now many readers must he wondering what on earth all that was about. It was an attempt to define the scope of what the UFO phenomenon has become. I am not saying that the stories and extracts above are ‘true’ in the sense that the scientist in his laboratory uses the word. Rather they are of the truth which is expressed in myth, dream, art and poetry. I further argue that UFO researchers who debate as to whether a certain story is ‘true’ or ‘false’ are posing a false dichotomy. I think that hoax, ‘lies’, fiction, and dreams may contain on ocassion a ‘higher’ truth than historical reality. I will also argue that we should evaluate contact stories, for example, as naive art, rather than evidence for the intervention of space people, and that the failure to recognise this has lead greatly to the sterile acrimony surrounding the subject.

Thus those writers who burn up pages of ink on arguing as to whether the claims of such charismatic figures as Uri Geller or Arthur Shuttlewood are ‘true’ or ‘false’ are asking the wrong questions. The real questions we should be asking are: “What is the appeal of such people” and “What effects do the myth-dreams they weave have on us and our culture?”

For myself, I think that Charles Muses and Jerome Clark are correct, and that the UFO is a bridge across the chasm. Not in the literal sense that nice space people are going to rescue us, but in a symbolic sense. The UFO appears to be a symbol of the ‘transcendence of opposites’, the mediator between the consciousness and the unconscious aspects of our psyche. It offers a way out of the twin nightmares of either a sterile, soulless ‘scientific future’, or a return to barbarism that the success of The Exorcist and its imitators has shown to be possible.

I sympathise with those UFO researchers who argue that we must not dirty our hands with stories such as ‘The Two’, or the schoolboys who claim to have encountered monsters in deserted railway tunnels, (on the grounds that such stories bring ridicule on the subject) but I must reluctantly disagree with them. I am forced to the view that we should consider such subliminal rumours as constituting a core of the phenomenon.

A vision in the night; the playground rumours of schoolchildren; the dream of a seer, the songs of a folk-singer; the ravings of a mad-man; the adventures of Everyman, unbidden and fearsome, what can it all mean? The only guide left to us is the saying of a Bushman to Van der Post: “A dream is dreaming us”. Maybe we are both the Dreamer and the Dream?


Uri Geller

  • Puharich, A. Uri. Future, 1974
  • Ebon, M. The Amazing Mr Geller. Signet, 1975

Computer God

  • Dione, R L. God Drives a Flying Saucer. Corgi, 1975.

Rats in a Maze

  • Michel, A. in FSR, volume 20, no. 3.

Hickson & Parker

  • Blum, R & J. Beyond Earth. Bantam, 1974
  • Eszterjaz, J. in Rolling Stone January 17th 1974


  • Schwarz, B E. “Berserk”, in FSR 20, 1.
  • Gordon, Stan in Skylook 75,77,78.

Badlands Journey

  • Clark, J. “A weird encounter in Utah” in FSR 16, 5.
  • Van Vlierden, C. “Escorted by UFOs” in FSR, 21, 2.


  • MUFOB, 6,4.
  • Hall, Mark, in The News, number 7.


  • Vallée, J. Passport to Magonia. Regnery, 1969.
  • Vallée, J. The Invisible College. Dutton, 1975
  • Gemini, volume 1, number 1.


There are many sources for airship date. John Keel’s Operation Trojan Horse; Jacob’s UFO Controversy in America and Clark and Colman’s The Unidentified summarise most of the data.


  • Thomas, Paul. Flying Saucers through the ages.
  • Vallée, J. The Invisible College.
  • MUFOB, 4,2 has a bibliography.
  • There is a new study by J-M Corbe which I have not seen. Needless to say, none of these document the political repercussions of Fatima.


  • Eliade, M. Shamanism, archaic techniques of Ecstasy
  • De Martino, E. Magic, primitive and modern


  • Green, D and McCreery, C. Apparitions. Hamilton, 1975


  • Sanders, Ed. The Family.

I have not quoted directly from the above sources. The purpose of this piece was not reportage, but to create an impressionistic word-picture of the whole panorama of the UFO vision.


Ghost Writers; A Brief Overview. Peter Rogerson

From Magonia 11, 1982


Ghosts are making a belated academic comeback, with officially sponsored volumes by the Folklore Society (1) and the Society for Psychical Research (3), and a detailed social history (2). So I take this opportunity also to review some volumes which fell through my fingers first time round.

That academics and journalists are both fascinated by ghosts is good testimony to their continued presence in our minds. As Finucane shows, ghosts have a pedigree going back to Greek and Roman times, a point also made by W M S Russell in the Folklore Society symposium. Russell suggests that a culture’s perception of its ghosts depends on its funeral customs; people who bury the dead portray concrete ghosts – ‘raw head and bloody bones’. An excellent Icelandic example of this is provided by Hilda Ellis Davidson, in which the revenant comes from the grave to claim person after person to join the legion of ghosts, as in east European vampire legends. This is symbolic of plague and other epidemics claiming victim after victim. Those who burn the dead envisage smoky, hazy spirits who drift across consciousness.

Finucane traces the evolution of the ghost through various stages of Christian theology. In medieval Christianity, ghosts were far from the marginal entities they are today. They were integral parts of society, enforcing its codes, demanding that justice be done, that debts be paid, that remains be buried properly and that harmony prevail among surviving relatives. Fear of ghosts’ wrath enforced proper respect for the helpless aged. Ghosts could give evidence in court. Most importantly, they enforced the correct theological line, with graphic descriptions of purgatory, heaven and hell. Living and dead were part of an organic unity: Church Militant, Church Suffering and Church Triumphant. (R H Bowyer, in (1), p. 190)

The Reformation abolished purgatory and literally damned all ghosts to hell; spectres refusing to stay there were clearly demons. This theological doctrine clashed with traditional belief and posed the awful dilemma: ‘Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned?’ Hamlet’s ghost may well be reinforcing social mores, but in doing so it leads to demonic tragedy.

The religious persecutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries created a great crop of ghost stories. The trauma of the shattering of the old order created a vast number of ghostly monks; expressions of grief and guilt, and Civil War, tore the nation apart; the ghostly Roundheads and Cavaliers, crimes magnified by the legion of rival pamphleteers, haunted on. History’s wounds were unforgotten and unforgiven, held in thrall by generations of local gossip and tradition. It should be remembered that in the nineteenth century there were still districts where families voted Liberal or Conservative, depending on which side their ancestors had fought in the Civil War.

The Reformation had damned ghosts, partly because it was trying to escape tradition. A society which perceives the world in fairly stable terms might be able to come to terms with its ‘history’ walking around; a society seeing itself in dynamic terms needed to jettison history – it was now necessary to dispose of traditional customs, producing the tensions which also gave rise to increased witch belief. (8)

There were other effects of the Civil War. The farmers and artisans who joined the Parliamentary armies were exposed to the ferment of new ideas, questioning the whole basis of traditional society. Conversely, the gentry and aristocracy, repelled by ‘the mob’, withdrew physically and intellectually to an unprecedented degree. Both sections of society began to reject ghost stories and traditional religion, while the Anglican Church, re-established and protected by penal legislation, looked on in apathy.

In these conditions Puritans like Richard Baxter, who 60 years ago would have considered ghosts as damnable, now began to use them to conduct the campaign against the modern Sadducees. (cf. (9)) Though the intellectual and literate elite may have despised ghosts, the vast majority of their fellow countrymen probably continued to hold traditional beliefs.

These traditional beliefs were taken into the rapidly growing industrial towns by the masses coming in from the country. Finucane does not cover the ideas of the working classes during this period, but some background can be gleaned from studies by Thomas (10) and Hamson (11).

By the mid-nineteenth century the ghost shad receded into a dim figure on the margins of consciousness. The only message that it had to give was the message of survival itself. Ghosts receded from society. From Mackenzie (3) emerges a nice picture of the typical Victorian ghost. The Despard ghost was a widow in black – like the maiden aunt or the widowed sister an embarrassing add-ition to the family.

The anonymous Victorian ghost flitting through the house reflected the breakup of the traditional home held for generations. The Victorian family, drifting from one leased house to another, were strangers in their own residences. The servants often had far more intimate connection with the house than their masters; they were part of the local community and its repository of folk history. As Claire Russell points out in the Folklore Society symposium, ghosts are about the living. In the Victorian period houses tended to become haunted because the local community decided that some fundamental vio-lation of the social mores had occurred.

This could range from anything between murder and leaving the house vacant too long. In many cases, ghosts were the expression of the community’s hostility to new tenants, and the tenants’ alienation from their res-idence. Significantly, many modern haunted houses are council houses or rented properties.

Haunts were not the only ghosts: death-bed apparitions, crisis apparitions, fetches and warnings, testified to the uncertainties of Victorian life – the separation of rel-ations sent abroad to colonial fever spots, the rampant infant mortality. Many of the people who became the centre of crisis apparitions had broken social mores in some way. One suspects that many ‘old and dear friends’ from the colonies who appeared to married women, were lovers sent away in disgrace.

Finucane notes the rigid social distinctions that operated in Victorian psychical research: that the middle classes never lied, that servants were timid and unreliable, and that the ‘peasantry’ were unthinking brutes. This led to some embarrassing situations, as in the case of poor Judge Horby, who found he either had to admit to lying or to sleeping with his wife before they were married.

If the psychical researchers turned their backs on the peasantry and their beliefs, the folklorists put them on pedestals. Romantics, rejecting the industrial revolution, dreamed up a fairytale past of noble peasants in little thatched cottages in a green and pleasant land. Such folklorists as the Dane, Evart Tang Kristensen could take seriously any ghost. These included revolving fiery wheels, or the wagon with three wheels which had the power to paralyse other wagons on the road, like modern UFOs. The folklorists and romantics created a market for Gothic horror stories and gibbering spectres.

The traditional Victorian ghost story reflected a sense of the horror beneath the placid surface of everyday life. They were reminders of the thin veneer of Victorian rationalism. It is hardly surprising that, as Julia Briggs points out, the ghost story as an art form fell when that veneer was wiped away in the trenches.
It is hardly surprising, then, that the heyday of the ‘true’ ghost story lay in the period before the First World War. It is significant that more than half the accounts in Mackenzie’s book refer to the period before the War. If ghosts are products of the human imagination’s response to real or imaginary outrages, then how can they be generated by the truly unimaginable outrage?

The modern ghost may well be more extrovert than his Victorian predecessor. Randy spectres fondling young ladies in council houses are all right in the pages of the Sun or the National Voyeur, but are hardly the right sort of company for the SPR. Modern ghosts are often drained of terror completely. The once-grim messengers are now reduced to competition with space-invader machines as tourist attractions in pubs. No longer even dim messengers of survival, perhaps memories of a lost history.

The poltergeist is the truly contemporary ghost, in its element in the age of the vandal. The poltergeist becomes a symbol of the shattering of society’s rules, the voice of the voiceless. The horror of contemporary fiction is now the super polt, heavy with fantasies of omnipotent destructive power. The quiet, old-fashioned ghost, like the spectre of little Johnny Minty, as described by Mackenzie, weeping endlessly for his mother, may pull at our heart-strings; the polts, evoked by Gauld and Cornell (4) or Rogo (6) can still give us the horrors. The emotion evoked by an attack by a poltergeist is the same as that of an attack by burglars or vandals, one of violation. It is this sense of violation of the home as a bastion against the forces of the wilderness outside, the overthrow of the safe rational world of everyday reason and common sense.

It must be said that the pre-poltergeist worlds of many of the victims do not seem especially safe or rational. The family discussed by Playfair (5) were already under the attention of social workers, and other polt families have had pretty severe problems. It is hardly surprising that both ‘normal’ and ‘paranormal’ trickery take place together; they are perhaps different means of expressing the same crisis.

Gauld and Cornell also describe place-centred polts, places which seem to be hostile. The old term ‘boggart’ seems aptly to describe this centre which generates confused multiform hallucinations and strange noises. Once again, is it not to the neighbours and the local community that we should look for reasons why a place becomes labelled ‘off-limits’? The only ‘message’ here seems to be: ‘Fear, fear’; ‘Get out’; ‘Boggart off!’

Ghosts are on the retreat, their role as dispensers of justice replaced by a modern police, their power to communicate across distances replaced by the telephone and television. Perhaps they have now faded forever beyond the reach of psychical researchers; soon the vandals will drive the polts away. Yet if their disappearance marks the end of our capacity for outrage, then we are in deep trouble. Maybe the ghosts of Belsen, of Hiroshima and of Kampuchea should
 howl and gibber and cry out for vengeance.


1. ELLIS-DAVIDSON, Hilda R and RUSSELL, W M S (Editors), The Folklore of Ghosts. Cambridge, D S Brewer, for the Folklore Society, 1981.
2. FINUCANE, R C, Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts. London, Junction Books, 1982.
3. MACKENZIE, Andrew, Hauntings and Apparitions. London, Heinemann, for the Society for Psychical Research, 1982.
4. GAULD, Alan and CORNELL, A O, Poltergeists. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul,1979. E9.95
5. PLAYFAIR, Guy Lyon, This House is Haunted: An Enfield Poltergeist. London, Souvenir Press, 1979. E6.95.
6. ROGO, D Scott, The Poltergeist Experience. Penguin, 1979.
7. RHINE, Louisa, The Invisible Picture – A Studuy of Psychic Experiences
8. MACFARLANE, Alan. Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964
9. WALKER, D. P. The Decline of Hell, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964
10. THOMAS, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic. Penguin, 1973
11. HAMSON, J.F.C. The Second Coming; Popular Millenarianism 1780-1856. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979.
12. BRIGGS, Julia. Night Visitors; the Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story. Faber, 1977


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The Sun Maiden. Peter Rogerson

An examination of some mythological traditions, with relevance to contemporary ufology

From MUFOB volume 4, number 2, June 1971

Since the publication of Vallée’s Passport to Magonia there has been a growing awareness that the UFO phenomenon belongs to a wider context of events, that possess a deep mythological significance for the human species.

This myth may be summarised as a belief in a fabulous land inhabited by supernatural beings, who can and do intervene in the affairs of men. They may ‘take’ men and women to their land, as either mates or servants or to perform a special tasks. They may live among men for a time, but are eventually called back to their homeland, They can take an interest in the affairs of individuals, families or nations, either to aid or to harm. Above all they are powerful:

We could out off half the human race, but would not… for we are expecting salvation

a member of the gentry tells an Irish seer (1). For this reason they must be held in respect; one should not conduct oneself in an unseemly manner in their presence or in the places sacred to them. A belief which persists to this day:

I favour the idea that the watchers have to be somehow in tune with whatever controls UFOs before they will appear… preferably a small harmonious group should sit quietly and think about UFOs

writes Janet Gregory in Pegasus magazines in a recent discussion on skywatches (2) feeling that the general chit-chat and blaring transistor radios are an affront to the inhabitants of Magonia.

There are many intriguing strands of belief connected with the general myth of Fairyland, as John Rimmer has pointed out. (3) In many respects one of the most important of these myths is that of the divine maid, who can seduce men and take them to the unknown country, or as in the tales we shall explore in this article can impart to them messages of great import. This maiden is simultaneously a mermaid-nereid figure and a sun goddess. The sun is the origin of the archetype of the Mandala, (The radiance of the sun is seen as a symbol of spiritual wholeness) with which the UFO is so identified as is the Grail legend. (4) In this way we can trace a mythological line of profound importance.

In South Uist in the haunted Western Isles, tradition has it that on Easter Day from the peak of Ben More the sun can be seen to dance, to celebrate the Resurrection, according to the Christianised version of the legend, which in fact is far older, and must date from the days of sun worship. One Easter day a widow climbed the mountain to see for herself:

She said the sun came above the horizon a dazzling blaze of gold, and when it reached the crest of the great hills… it began to change colour green it became, then purple and red, a deep blood red and white, clear intense white, and at last white-gold, like the Glory of God Himself. And it was dancing, dancing up and down, stepping it from peak to peak, from hilltop to hilltop.

The price of this mystic vision, as with that extracted from those who see the enchanted secrets of Fairyland, is blindness


From this we are impelled towards the Fatima story (4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Here three peasant children [above] encountered in the Cova da Iria, a large creek, a celestial woman. It was the 13th of May, 1917 when, tending sheep, they saw a bright flash of light. then, near an oak tree a woman materialised in a globe of fire. According to the children:

“The wonderful lady looked young, Her dress white as snow and, tied to her neck with a gold band, wholly covered her body. A white cloak with a golden edge covered her head. Near her hands was a rosary of pearly grains. The face was circled by a golden halo.” (8)

The lady delivered a message, then departed in the luminous globe. Again on the 13th of June, 13th July and 13th September the lady reappeared to the children. By the 13th September a good crowd had gathered but only the children saw the lady, Some (but by no means all) saw an ‘aeroplane of light’ coming from and returning to the sun in the east, with strange flakes which dissolved when touched, dropped from the sky. The following month, the cumulation of this fantastic vision came the famous Dance of the Sun. At midday the sun came through the clouds, glowing with a clear brilliance. Suddenly it seemed to spin wildly, and as it did so it changed colour, yellow, green, blue, then deep blood-red, falling towards the earth, the temperature rising. Then suddenly the spell was broken, the sun was back in a cloudless sky. While this spectacle was taking place the lady again appeared to the children, giving them messages they had to deliver to the great ones of the world.

Only the children saw the lady; not all the crowd even saw the dance of the sun. (10) Something Which those who attribute the phenomena to electromagnetic spaceships have failed to account for. About this event Michell writes:

There is a sort of fairy-tale atmosphere about the whole story. The lady appears to have been one of those supernatural figures like the attendant of the Holy Grail who can appear to one person and be invisible to another. She revealed herself above or by a tree like the angels who visited Joan of Arc or like the legendary local goddesses of pre-Christian Portugal. (4)

It is well to bear these views in mind, for such visions occur outside the traditional religious setting. Two centuries before Fatima a strange rumour circulated in the France of Louis XIV. It concerned a wonderful apparition perceived by a Marechal Ferraut (12, 13). Riding home one evening through a dark forest in Provence, he passed a blasted oak. There he saw a strange light.

Between this tree and a sapling, the intervening space consisting of about a dozen yards, stood a tall figure absolutely still and apparently inanimate. It seemed at first to be shaped out of transparent cloud… However, rapidly becoming more and more substantial, It soon developed into a very beautiful woman. She was dressed in white, the most splendid jewels glittered on her arms and breasts and something like a tiara upon her lovely golden hair… (12)

A strange paralysis, such as that which affects UFO percipients, gripped him. The strange figure announced that it was the spirit of the King’s late wife. It commanded him to take a message to the King, This consisted in part of a message about an apparition the King himself had seen in the same forest thirty years before. He promised to deliver the message, under the most terrible threats. Yet Ferrault had greater fear of the King, and he was to encounter the apparition twice again before he carried out the mission. The King, it was said, paid him highly to keep his silence as to the full nature of the message.

The reader will already have seen the parallels with Fatima and other visions of Mary — the tree, the woman of awesome beauty the secret to the leaders. The differences too — the vision of the children is one of quiet beauty, that of the old warrior, awesome and possessing of a terrible power.

Midway in time between these two stories, there occurred in a Maine coastal village near Machiasport a strange vision which seems to create a link between the legends such as Fatima and those of modern psychic research, (14,15). Towards the end of August 1799 a strange voice was heard in the house of a sea captain, Paul Blaisdell, followed a few months later (in January 1800) by an apparition of a beautiful woman clad in brilliant white raiment, who floated’ just above the ground, claiming to be a Mrs George Butler (deceased) and summoned her ‘husband’ and ‘father’ to prove the point. The purpose of the visitations was to force George Butler to marry the captain’s daughter Lydia, a purpose which was eventually accomplished.

The descriptions of what happened during the period are incredible. The apparition herded large numbers of people into the Blaisdell’s cellar (On one occasion there were more than two hundred present,) and delivered sermons, interspersed with prophecies, all of which eventually came to pass. There is a description of one of these lectures. The writer, a young woman guest was awoken by knocks on the door and went to the cellar, where twenty people were already assembled:

“Then I heard a voice speaking… it was shrill, but mild and pleasant.” Then there appeared a shapeless mass of light, growing into the figure of a woman, which then passed between the ranks of the spectators, talking all the time. At last it became shapeless, “expanded everywhere” and then vanished in a moment. The Rev. Abraham Cummings, who published the case, (14) had an even more curious experience. Told of the apparition he was sceptical and went to see for himself:

About twelve rods ahead of him there was a slight knoll or rise in the ground, and he could see a group of white rocks on the slope, showing dimly against the dark turf… Two or three minutes later he looked up… One of those white rocks had risen off the ground, and had now taken the shape of a globe of light with a rosy tinge. As he went towards it ho kept his eye on it for fear it might disappears but he had not gone more than five paces when the glowing mass flashed right to where he was (and) resolved itself into the shape and dress of a woman, but small, the size of a child of seven. He thought, “You are not tall enough for the woman who has been appearing among us.” Immediately the figure expanded to normal size… and now she appeared glorious, with rays of light shining from her head all about, and reaching to the ground. (15)

Struck dumb by joy mingled with terror Cummings stood silent, the figure then faded. The world seemed dull, commonplace, compared to its glory, he later recorded.

The inhabitants of Magonia can change their shape at will: “They are shape changers, they can grow small or grow large; they can take what shape they may choose.” (16) There are parallels to these stories. The Waterdales, Northfleet, Kent, for example, where, in a bedroom, the ghostly figure of a small girl growing to the size of a woman was seen. (17) Again there is Warminster, a maelstrom of embryo mythologies where a member of Shuttlewood’s investigating team was ‘taken’ by tiny beings who grew to normal size, then reduced him, with themselves. (18) (The Sidhe take people body and soul thus transforming them into one of their own.) They returned him but he was never the same again, and began to waste away. In other days it would have been said he was a ‘changeling’, for the Sidhe never give up those they have taken.

Those who are taken go to Magonia itself, the enchanted world, located according to various cultures under the earth, or sea, in the sky, or on strange other worlds, Always it is the Shangri-La, just over the horizon, so near and yet so far Few will go willingly into this paradise, for once entered there is no return. So ‘they’ will take men by force, especially those who have offended against their code, or who have disturbed their secret places. One such tale of attempted kidnapping is told by

Elliot O’Donnell the well-known ghost hunter. (19) A relative of O’Donnell (Mr B.) was driving in his side-car once night along a road from Hospital to Ballynanty in Limerick, a route notorious as a haunt of the Sidhe. He had fallen drowsy when he was suddenly awakened by his driver-servant clutching hold of him:

The horse had come to a dead stop, and was standing still, shivering, whilst the roadside was crowded with a number of tiny shadowy figures that were surging round the car trying to drag the unfortunate drivers who was quite frantic with terror, from his seat. Mr B, however, concluding that what he saw could only be the fairies, of whose existence he had hitherto been very sceptlcal, seized the reins and urged the horse forward. Meanwhile his servant seemed to be still paralysed with fright, and it was not until they were well out of sight that the man found himself once again in possession of his tongue and normal faculties… Then he described what had befallen him… He was driving along quite all right, till the horse suddenly stopped, and when he looked down to see what was the cause of it, he perceived a crowd of fairies, who rushed at him, and tried to drag him off the car. He said their touch was so cold it benumbed him, but by praying hard he held on. The cause of the attack was apparent…

“It was all because we came on them, sir, when they were dancing. They won’t be disturbed when they are at their revels and enjoying themselves. Had they got me down into the road maybe I should have lost my sight or my hearing or the use of my limbs, and in any case my soul.” (19)

Had such a story been told today there would be no doubt that it would be interpreted as a ufonaut kidnapping attempt. It is equally true of course that in earlier times the adventure of Gustafsson and Rydberg for example (20) would have been seen as an attempt by the trolls or watermen to take humans to their underground home.

It is clear that the supposedly simple UFO phenomenon is in fact incalculably complex. Whatever pretty little theory we care to dream up never covers the whole spectrum of events. Pieces of the jigsaw do fall into place; it is evident for example, that the modern UFO legend is an integral part of an immensely old mythological tradition. some facets of which we have presented here. We may in fact regard the UFO as an archetypical symbol derived from the sun at one level of ‘reality’.

However this certainly is not the whole meaning behind the myth or the reality. Can we interpret the phenomenon as subjective? If so, can the human sub-conscious create such a complex hallucination, or would it have to be implanted by some extra-mundane intelligence, and what kind of mind could accomplish that, and for what purpose? If the phenomenon is objective even more questions seem to be raised, among the simplest being: how could any objective phenomenon be visible to only a limited number of people contiguous to one another. Certainly if the phenomenon is a result of the activities of an extra-mundane intelligence it is operating at a far more complex and subtle level than most exponents of the ETH are prepared to concede.



  1.  Evans-Wentz, W.Y. The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, quoted in Jacques Vallée, Passport to Magonia, 1969.
  2.  Gregory, Janet. Letter to the Editor, Pegasus, vol.2, no.8.
  3.  Rimmer, John. ‘On the conceptual connection between fairies and UFO entities’, MUFOB, vol. 2, no.1.
  4.  Michell, John. Flying Saucer Vision, 1967, especially chapters 4, 5 and 6. The quotations are from chapter 5.
  5.  Swire, Otto F. The Outer Hebrides and Their Legends, 1966. Quotation from chapter 7.
  6.  Vallée, Jacques. Anatomy of a Phenomenon, 1966.
  7.  Thomas, Paul (i.e. Paul Misraki) Flying Saucers Through the Ages, 1965.
  8.  Ribera, Antonio. ‘What happened at Fatima?’, Flying Saucer Review, vol.10, no.2.
  9.  Inglefield, Gilbert. ‘Fatima: the three alternatives’, Flying Saucer Review, vol.10, no.3.
  10.  Paris, S. A. ‘Fatima again’, Flying Saucer Review, vol.12, no.1, letter to the editor,
  11.  Stearn, Jesse. The Door to the Future, 1964
  12.  O’Donnell, Elliot. Family Ghosts, 1965
  13.  O’Donnell, Elliot, Ghosts With a Purpose, 1963.
  14.  Cummins, Abraham, Immortality proved by Testimony of Sense, 1859. Quoted in:
  15.  Stevens, William, Oliver, Unbidden Guests, 1949
  16.  Gregory, Lady Augusta, Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, 1920; quoted in ‘The UFO is alive and well and living in fairyland’, MUFOB, vol.3, no.6.
  17.  Sims, Victor, and George Owen. ‘the case of the haunted council house’, Sunday Mirror, November 20, 1961.
  18.  Shuttlewood, Arthur. Warnings from Flying Friends, 1968
  19.  O’Donnell, Elliot. Ghostland, 1925
  20.  Steiger, Brad. Strangers from the Skies, 1966

For a review of a more recent discussion of the Fatima phenomenon see: http://magonia.haaan.com/2008/god-and-the-sun-at-fatima-stanley-l-joki/ 

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And the Dog Began to Howl. Peter Rogerson

 From Magonia 27, September 1987 

The other day a young man came into my office, seeking the history of his house: who had lived in it and especially who might have died. Was it just curiosity? No, There was ‘something wrong’ with the house, where the baby would not sleep and the dog had begun to howl. Maybe, he thought, it was haunted.

The same day a woman came in trying to discover what occupied the land where her house now stood before it was built. She gave no reason, but on previous occasions this type of query has been stimulated by fears of hauntings. At least once a month someone comes to me with this type of enquiry.

These incidents are from my experience as a local history librarian in a northern town. It is apparent to me that there exist many unreported ‘haunted houses’, and that a powerful factor in this is a fear of the unofficial ‘off-campus’ history of the house. A history of the organic round of birth, procreation and, especially, death, which is perceived by the house’s current occupier as being oppressive, palpable and threatening. In some senses the house, ‘the home’, is an extension of the individual’s body or personality; hence the trauma induced by burglaries. Similarly the house is seen as having been imprinted, one might almost say contaminated, by the previous occupants. The house has borne witness to their most intimate moments.To the new occupant – the ‘incomer’ – the haunted house has a ‘history’ or a ‘reputation’ in a personal, almost sexual, way. The house is not a ‘virgin’. It has been violated by the presence of other human activity, which may afflict and infect the incomer. The sorts of questions which are asked about the haunted house’s previous owners or tenants are the sorts of questions one might ask about one’s partner’s previous sexual partners.

The main terror inspired by these previous occupants is that they are dead, gone, finished; that they are not continuing the organic round elsewhere. They have become part of history, their lives cannot be experienced, only inferred.

One of the cornerstones of sceptical historical philosophy is that historical events cannot be directly known about; all we have access to are the written and structural documents left by past generations, from which history may be ‘reconstructed’. [1] This history vbecomes the formal history, the ‘campus history’, the history taught in schools, the network of kings and dates. Perhaps also a rather mare intimate history reconstructed from diaries, wills, reports, enquiries and the press.

But there is another history, the oral history of folk memory, ballads, songs, stories learned at mothers knee, passed on across generations – ‘off-campus’ history. Unlike the documents of campus history, this still has a power over the living, it can still be experienced. It is a kind of folklore, often at dramatic odds with the documentary history. It is a history which is a present reality, shaping the lives and experiences of its hearers. The ‘history’ of haunted houses, is very much an ‘off-campus, peoples’ history, a folklore of what should be true rather than documentary truth.

At the heart and core of much ghostlore is a belief that certain events taking place in a space or territory forever render that space an inappropriate location for the mundane activities of life. The events remove it from the realm of secular to sacred space.

The Herald of Free Enterprise - It belongs to history and too its victims all else are intruders

It now belongs to history, and to its victims all else are intruders.

To take an example: most people (this writer among them) would consider it highly inappropriate for the salvaged Channel Ferry The Herald of Free Enterprise ever to be used to carry passengers again. Its only morally coherent fate would be for it to be taken into deep. deep waters and scuttled. An analysis of the reasons for this feeling is difficult because a-rational, but would clearly centre on the sense of the Herald’s place as a catastrophic scar on the memories of the living. It now, like Abraham Lincoln, belongs to history, and to its victims all else are intruders.

Here then is another step towards the social history of the haunted house. In popular imagination it is a place where an event has happened which closes the life of the house and consecrates it to a particularmoment of history. This is principally because the community now sees that place as a monument to that event. Even if no documentary ‘campus’ history attaches itself to the building, the sense of moral coherence demands that such history be supplied. Having been consecrated to history, the price to be paid for its violation is for the violator to directly experience history.

Hence the sign of the haunted house is its invisible parallel life wherein history is recapitulated. [2] Furthermore this history is experienced often as wilderness/chaos. This equation between history and wilderness operates because of the pervasive power that history has on us – the lives of all readers of Magonia are conditioned by the fact that, e.g., the Allies won World War II and not the Axis. History is an irreducible fait accompli: a brute, unchanging fact of nature. It has immense power over us, but we have no power at all over it.That is not all, as Gould and Cornell point out. [3] In ‘real’ cases it is difficult to separate out poltergeists and hauntings. Note that in parapsychological folklore poltergeists are associated with the ‘awakening’ of the sexual energies of adolescents, hauntings with events taking place after death. Poltergeist disturbances are thus connected with the emergence of potentialities to create life (before the beginning), hauntings are connected with the fading away of what was once a life (after the end).

Polts and haunts thus mark the alpha and omega of the organic round; together they form a symbol for the creation and destruction of life. Sexuality, procreation, birth and death belong to the wilderness and they are barely contained within the structures of society. The shattering of the family home and property represents the incapacity of the family to tame the raw energies of creation and destruction.

Ghosts, haunts and polts then are the signs of the liminal zones between being and not being: the history of the haunted house is the history of repetitions of this organic round, or its dramatic severance. Amongst the commonest motifs is that of the friendly or, hostile house. The house appears to accept or reject the incomer, and the incomers sense of ease or unease is projected onto the house, aided and abetted by subtle clues from neighbours.

The theme of hostile houses suggests a confusion between people and places: the disturbed house is a metaphor for disturbed family dynamics. For example, one of Mackenzie’s female correspondents reported that her childhood had been made unhappy by a ‘hostile presence’ in her house, centred on a bedroom which made her “pale and thin unlike all the other children”, and which made her reluctant to return home from school. [4] These are typical symptoms of a victim of child abuse. This lady’s mother refused to discuss the incidents, saying her own childhood had been made unhappy by the psychic delvings of her mother.

In another case a woman claimed that a hostile presence nearly caused the breakup of her marriage: her husband laughing at her fears caused her to panic and fall down stairs on more than one occasion – giving hints of suppressed violence.

In a case from Birmingham in 1955, a poltergeist was blamed for the death of a month-old baby. Raps and whisperings were heard in the house, and a four-year-old child saw a ‘dog’ sitting on the baby’s face. [7,8]

At present no detailed studies exist which look at the haunted house from the ‘new parapsychological’ perspective. Osborne’s study of The Woman in Brown’ [5], or Fodor on ‘Ash Manor’ [6] being exceptions. Each such incident may be pregnant with meaning, for the experient, even the story may be selected because it deals with the incomer’s problems.

In the case of ‘The Woman in Brown’, the appearance of ‘the woman’ to the central percipient when a telephone rang, was traced through a network of past traumatic experiences, both real and fantisised, involving sudden death and blankets. In the Ash Manor case, the incidents revolved round a couple’s sexual conflicts.

In such cases ‘dead things which will not lie down’ from the percipient’s personal history, become connected with or projected onto the dynamic of the off-campus history of the territory where the events take place. The ‘objectivity’ and collective nature of such incidents derives from a collective fantasy producing traumas with much drama, the ‘ghost story’ of a property, may, on closer reflection, show some correspondence to the personal concerns of the living. Such stories often involve violation of profound taboos, domestic murder, suicide, infanticide and forbidden passions.

It is difficult to say of course, how many alleged poltergeists are covers for domestic violence. This break-down of traditional family mores leads to a reversal of the home and family as a bastion against the forces of outer chaos. The haunted house is transformed into a wild anti-home, a place to flee from in fear, instead of run to for security. The majority of haunted houses are not the property of the occupiers. The traditional Victorian haunted house was the short-lease house, where the servants come with the property. The archetypal modern haunted house is the council house. Such houses literally ‘belong to someone else’. They are perhaps more ‘used’, have more off-campus history than other, more settled, houses. There is a greater likelihood of a failure of bonding between the occupant and the house.

I have previously argued that the idea of the changeling arose as a mechanism to rationalise child abuse and the failure of parental bonding. The parents’ feelings of hatred, aggression and alienation are projected onto the child itself, turning it into a hostile alien presence. May not a similar mechanism exist for houses: the incomer’s sense of alienation from the house or community, and their failure to experience the house as ‘home sweet home’ are projected onto the house, now regarded. like the changeling child, as a hostile, threatening presence.It is also possible that a sizeable proportion of haunted houses are ‘first time’ homes, wherein young couples are experiencing the strains of marriage and adult responsibilities, and where the home is a source of worry rather than idealised domestic bliss. The problems of the ‘home’, in the sense of family life, becomes projected on the physical structure of the house. Alienation from the home becomes experience of the house as alien. 

The mediums and exorcists who visit such houses know what their clients want and need: a good costume melodrama, full of fire and passion and suffering, which like a TV soap, tells the audience “You think you’ve cot problems…!” Such stories contain stock situations which inform the community of expected norms.

There is a school of sociologists which argues that society needs criminals and deviants to denounce, in order to demonstrate its rules and solidify the community in upholding them. The haunted house is a marking-stone of the violation of community taboos, a scapegoat in brick and stone for all the dark and unworthy secrets of the community. Do the incomers then take upon themselves the traumas of the whole commuity? Do they become involuntary sin eaters?


  1.  MEILAND, Jack W. Scepticism and historical knowledge (Random House studies in philosophy) Random House, 1965.
  2.  The noises groans and bangings reported in haunted houses are remarkably reminiscent of those of a charivari or rough riding, In this traditional ritual the members of the community whose norms had been violated would parade outside the offender’s house banging pots, making groans and other noises, throwing pebbles at the windows, indeed generally behaving just like poltergeists, to make life unpleasane. The incomer had violated the taboo against entering space reserved for hauntings, Indeed, traditional lore connects hauntings with the violation of specific taboos, such as building houses over graveyards, playing with Ouija boards or dancing on graves, all of which violate the sanctity and separateness of history and the ancestors.
  3.  GAULD, Alan and CORNELL, A. D.  Poltergeists Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  4.  MACKENZIE, Andrew.  Seen and Unseen: Study of Presences, Apparitions and Other Paranormal Phenomena. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1987.
  5.  OSBORNE, Edward, ‘The ‘Woman in Brown; an investigation of an apparition’, Journal of the SPR vol. xxxv, no, 655 (Nov-Dec, 1949), pp, 123-53.
  6.  FODOR, Nandor. The Haunted Mind: A Psychoanalyst Looks at the Supernatural, Helix Press, 1959.
  7.  MOSS, Peter. Ghosts Over Britain. Sphere 1979.
  8.  BRADDOCK, Joseph. Haunted Houses 1956 

Click on the links in the titles above to order these books from Amazon

See also: http://magonia.haaan.com/2008/images-of-imogen-deconstructing-a-classic-victorian-ghost-story-peter-rogerson/

Deep Secrets: Reviewing the Conspiracy Literature. Peter Rogerson

From Magonia 60, August 1997

Shortly before his untimely death our colleague Roger Sandell had planned to write a major article on the growing influence of conspiracy theories and fusion paranoia. If anything, since his death conspiracy theories have come in even further from their ancient home on the wilder shores of politics, into the cultural mainstream. They form the core of such cult television series as The X-Files and Dark Skies, to say nothing of the numerous commercial spin-offs. Recent issues of both Fortean Times and Big Issue, the magazine sold by the homeless, have featured articles ‘proving’ that the Apollo moon landings were faked. 

Peter Rogerson looks at some recent books that point to disturbing trends below this recent wave of interest.   

While I am not in a position to write that major article that Roger would have done, I am taking the opportunity of commenting on a series of books about conspiracy theories and related topics which have recently been published or reissued. Vankin’s is a reissue with a new introduction and comprises a general review of the topic. The compilation edited by Thomas consists of reprints from back issues of the conspiracy-oriented magazine Steamshovel Press. Lamy’s and Parfrey’s are analyses of the cultural and political milieu in which conspiracy theories flourish; Cohn’s is a long-awaited reprint of his critique of one particularly malignant conspiracy theory, and the rest present individual theories. 

Vankin’s subtitle, ‘From Dallas to Oklahoma’, points to the American origin of most contemporary conspiracy theories. While there is a long tradition in American politics of what the historian Richard Hofstander calls ‘the paranoid style’, it was the Kennedy assassination which in the mid-twentieth century brought conspiracy theories out from the fringes of the radical right. While some of these theories clearly involved ‘realistic’ notions of actions by small groups of political malcontents, many showed the classic hallmarks of Manichean conspiracy theories. A contributor to Popular Alienation sums these up well: 

“The need at the root of all conspiracy questing is to find the root of human pain and suffering… which is held to flow out of some central fountain running in rivulets throughout the world. In most conspiracy theories evil is seen as a metaphysical absolute, almost a substance which can poison life through viral contamination”. 

I would summarise the essence of such Manichean theories as the belief that ‘history as we know it is a lie’ (as the opening titles to Dark Skies puts it), a delusion imposed upon us by a malevolent ‘other’. The real history is very different: there is nothing random in history, all is controlled by ‘them’, and all the pain and suffering in the world is caused by the terrible others, who are the incarnation of cosmic evil. They are simultaneously subhuman and superhuman, possessed of preternatural powers and largely undefeatable. The conspiracy theorist is an illuminous, who can penetrate the maze of deception and see ‘them’ for what they are. The theorist is a soldier in the army of the righteous, filled with what Lamy calls millennial rage. 

This line of thought can be seen in the writings of many who present the Kennedy assassination in essentially religious terms; as an American crucifixion, the slaying of the civic saviour by the incarnate forces of evil who have since usurped the land. The powers of the slayers is immense. They can fix all the evidence – the Zapruder film, the body, the autopsy reports – and wipe away all traces of their own guilt because they control everything. 

Their identity varies according to time and place: witches, Christians, Moslems, Jews, communists, capitalists, liberals, humanists, Catholics, Freemasons, homosexuals, scientists, child-abusers, illuminati, Grays, Nazis, multinationals. Sometimes they are protean creatures merging elements, and flowing into each other: Jewish-communist Freemasons, American bankers in the Vatican. 

This protean nature extends to the conspiracies themselves. Kerry Thornley served with Lee Harvey Oswald in the Marines and wrote a novel in which the central character was based on Oswald before the assassination. He now claims that both he and Oswald were the products of a Nazi breeding experiment, and that he has been bugged by an implant since birth allowing strangers to know of his sexual experiences. Thus the Kennedy assassination merges with stories of mind control and abuse. Another veteran figure on the fringes of the assassination field, Mae Brussel, daughter of celebrity rabbi Edgar Maggin, shortly before her death in 1988, began to link the Kennedy assassination to an international Nazi-Satanist conspiracy associated with CIA mind control. This point of view is shared by an anonymous Popular Alienation contributor who alleged that the false memory hypothesis was being promoted by the CIA to hide their mind control experiments. 

Mind control and child abuse form the central allegations of TransFormation of America, in which the former wife of a country music entertainer claims to have been sold into CIA slavery by her paedophile father, and been the sexual plaything of several US presidents, the mistress of a senator, and abused by several foreign leaders, whilst also acting as a CIA courier. This collection of allegations is known as Project Monarch, and no doubt we will be hearing more of it. Mind Control is fast becoming central to conspiracy theories, and Jim Keith mentions the rumours surrounding Timothy McVey. The point being emphasised here is that people do bad things because ‘they’ make them do it. This concept forms a sort of secular possession, with Nazi-Satanists and so forth replacing the devils and demons of former centuries. 

There are other trends, and Vankin and Popular Alienation have them to meet all tastes. Vankin notes, for example, William Bromley, who has linked conspiracy theories with ancient astronaut speculation. There is the ubiquitous Lyndon La Rouche who lies at the heart of about half the conspiracy theories going and who has a particular fixation with the wicked British, who are the heirs to a conspiracy launched by a group of renegade Templars led by Robert the Bruce! Then there are the Collier brothers who believe that the press agency joint election reporting service in the USA just makes up the figures. 

The volume of Popular Alienation I have reviewed is a re-print of the bulk of the contents of issues 4 to 11 of the journal Steamshovel Press, along with a selection of extra material. This magazine was originally started by people who saw themselves as part of the Beat Generation, disciples of Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs. It is now a strangely eclectic conspiracy source and I can give no better description of its contents than by quoting from the rear blurb: 

“Abbie Hofman’s death seen as an assassination; the role of President Nixon and George Bush in the death of JFK; Black Holes and the Trilateral Commission… Danny Casolaro and the INSLAW octopus; Mothman, Roswell, Area 51; Bill Clinton and Carol Quigley; the Gemstone File [which claimed that Aristotle Onassis was responsible for the JFK assassination, amongst other things]; anti-gravity; Ezra Pound; Holocaust revisionism; Bob Dylan and mind control…” 

Well, you get the picture. Some of this stuff is possibly true, some of it quite loopy, and quite a lot of it rather sinister. Increasingly those conspiracy theories which used to have a more or less left-wing perspective have become dominated by the agendas of the groups associated with the American freelance militias, which in turn reflect the mixture of macho armed anarchism, anti-feminism and racism associated with the nineteenth century anarchist Proudhon, with a dash of Christian fundamentalism thrown in. 

The conspiracy theories are part of the apocalyptic tradition, they are the signs indicating that the Enemy is on the verge of total victory and only the ‘Saving Remnant’ can stand against it

The general theme of these theories is that the free people of the United States are about to be sold out to UN dominated slavery in the ‘New World Order (an infelicitous phrase used by George Bush, meant to refer to the Pax Americana, but given quite a new meaning by conspiracy theorists). Behind this plot is a mysterious conspiracy, usually referred to as the Illiminati. The original Illuminati were a small, pseudo-Masonic group set up in eighteenth-century Bavaria, dedicated to radical Enlightenment views; a sort of vague populism mixed with sexual liberation. They entered into American politics when they were used as a code word for the Federalist to attack Thomas Jefferson, and others thought to be too friendly towards the French Revolution. Today the term seems to be used as little more than a synonym for any sort of vague elite, or, more sinisterly, as a code word for Jews. 

Jim Keith began his conspiratorial career promoting the Gemstone Files, but has now become a major spokesman for the militias. Black Helicopters over America is a remarkable example of political paranoia. It starts with UFO-like sightings of mysterious black helicopters which first entered the American consciousness in 1973 at the time of the cattle mutilations panic. They have since become a part of UFO lore, and feature as a mysterious, brooding, spying presence in the experiences of abductees like Debbie Jordan and Katarina Wilson. From the late 1980s the helicopters became politicised, as the carriers of the shock troops of the UN invasion; another old fantasy which began in the fevered imaginations of 1960s segregationists who assured their audiences that the UN troops would be Congolese. [For further discussion of the significance and power of the image of the helicopter, see 'The Curious Connection Between Helicopters and UFOs', by Dennis Stilling, in Magonia 25, March 1987] 

Both Keith and Grant Jeffrey display one of the classic signs of paranoia: the inability to accept any kind of evidence which would contradict their views. Both see the UN as being dominated by the communists, rhetoric from the Red-baiting years which has surely been overtaken by events. Probably Cuba is the only country left in the world with a believing communist government, the Confucian regimes of China, Vietnam and Laos merely use communism as a nostalgic slogan. Keith and Jeffrey’s answer to that is that the Reds have not been defeated, they are simply playing possum and just waiting to pounce. The death of devils is surely as hard as the death of gods. (Gordon Creighton’s Flying Saucer Review promotes a similar theory in Britain.) 

For Jeffery the ‘Evil Empire’ is not just a secular enemy, but the very domain of the Antichrist, and he has plenty of Biblical passages – all torn out of context – to prove his point. Like most apocalyptic Biblical interpreters he is unable to grasp the fact that Biblical writers were writing about the events and concerns of their own time, and not some inconceivably remote future. The apocalypticism typified by Grant Jeffrey, born from the imagination of Hal Lindsey and others of that ilk, crops up everywhere. Near-death experience prophet Dannion Brinkley had visions of the Antichrist inaugurating the New World Order, although fundamentalist surgeon Maurice Rawlings sees the NDE itself as part of Satan’s wily attempts to lore us into the New World Order. 

This is the sort of atmosphere in which the militias and survivalist move. Philip Lamy describes their world view as ‘Millennium Rage’, the notion as summarised by Keith in Black Helicopters.., and OK Bomb, that the evil Clinton is about to inaugurate the reign of terror, and all that stands against him are “Conservative pro-Constitutionalists, Christian religious fundamentalists, the second American militia movement…” etc. Lamy, in his important book, argues that these images appeal primarily to those whose lives have been upturned or threatened by social change. 

The conspiracy theories are part of the apocalyptic tradition. They are the end signs, indicating that the enemy is on the verge of total victory and only the ‘saving remnant’ can stand against it. This siege mentality clearly links groups such as the Branch Davidians with the wider militia and radical right community. The survivalists studied by Lamy saw themselves as the remnant in the wilderness. There is an eagerness for a catastrophe which would cleanse the world: a great simplification, the kind of purification extolled in the disaster movies, in which the wicked are thrown down and the righteous exalted in some suburban apocalypse. Lamy places the contemporary apocalyptic tradition in the context of the millennialist currents in American history. This encompassed a range of historical precedents from the benign, meliorative visions of those who saw the American republic itself as a new beginning; the lore of the wilderness (surely a factor in survivalism); the millennialist movements of the Native Americans, such as the Ghost Dance; up to its reappearance in such forms as the Unabomber manifesto and the X-Files.

This brings us back to the visions which I reviewed in ‘Blood, Vision and Brimstone’ (Magonia 53, August 1995), and testifies to the real social power of the rejected folk culture of the ‘New Age’, which, like the term New World Order, itself has clear millennialist overtones. Whether the likes of John Mack or Kenneth Ring might ever be the focus of a millennialist cult such as that of Herb Applewhite, we shall just have to wait and see. 

The Oklahoma bomb was a product of this culture. Jim Keith in OKBomb reviews the rumours surrounding it. Much of the time he raises what seem like sensible points, but eventually falls into paranoid traps. For conspiracy theorists the notion of terrorists from their own tradition is unthinkable, and alternatives were suggested ranging from the claim of one militia leader that it was the work of the Japanese acting in revenge for the Tokyo subway gassing which itself was the work of the CIA. Others suggested it was a government act of provocation, a sort of modern Reichstag fire which could trigger the great UN crackdown; or our old friend mind control, as outlined by Mark Pilkington in Magonia 58. In passing, it has to be pointed out that while in some sense minds are being controlled all the time – by parents, schools, public authority, the media, etc. – there is no evidence of the sort of superhuman mind control as envisaged by conspiracy theorists ever having been, or possibly being, successful. 

If I were to speculate on the motives of the Oklahoma bombers it would be to suggest a compound of propaganda by the deed, and an act of provocation with the intent of trying to provoke the authorities into some ill-judged overreaction and act of repression which would confirm their views and radicalise their followers. 

The post-Oklahoma scene is also discussed in Adam Parfrey’s collection of writings. Although not endorsing the militias, he concludes they have been made the subject of a great deal of hysteria, and that they are no match for the powers of the corporate state. Here he echoes the views of some commentators on Waco: with the old Red Empire gone the American state needs new enemies against which to define itself; whereas for many groups of citizens the state itself has become the enemy. 

The line between tragedy and farce is very fine, and one of the most surreal images in Cult Rapture must be the meeting between the survivalist, ‘identity-Christian’ (and what that means is the subject of a future review) and Presidential candidate for the far-right Populist Party, James ‘Bob’ Gritz (the model for Rambo), and a little old lady in tennis shoes who channels an alarming, nine-foot tall fascist reptilian called Hartoon. Rambo meets Reptilian. Strange days indeed! 

Behind much of today’s conspiracy theories lies the old Big Lie of antisemitism, symbolised by that notorious fraud, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is a sad thought that when Norman Cohn’s masterful tracings of its origins, and the strange Russian rightists who manufactured it by plagiarising Joly’s Dialogues in Hell, was first published thirty years ago, it was a dissection of a long dead literary corpse. This new edition must be seen more as a stake to be driven through the heart of a newly risen vampire, which I have seen on the shelves of the New Age section of Manchester’s Waterstones’, its nakedness hidden by the covers of Behold a Pale Horse or hiding in the work of David Icke. 

The necromancers who have disinterred this foul thing are behind many of today’s conspiracy theories, using them as bait to trawl the youngsters who follow The X-Files and the like. Conspiracy theories throw a film of confusion over history, about which many people are not terribly informed anyway. If you can persuade people that Marilyn Monroe was murdered by the CIA, or if you can persuade them that the Apollo astronauts never really landed on the Moon, then perhaps you can persuade them that there was no Holocaust, and that maybe Adolph Hitler wasn’t as bad as they say after all. 

By working their way into the fears and prejudices of people whose minds have already been prepared by a diet of conspiracy theories, these hate-mongers are likely to find a more rewarding way of spreading their ideas than trawling a few thuggish football fans. We must not let them.

 Books reviewed in text:


Click on the cover images to buy the books from Amazon 

  • Jonathan Vankin, Conspiracies, Cover-up and Crimes from Dallas to Waco. Illuminet Press, 1996.
  • Kenn Thomas (Ed.) Popular Alienation; a Steamshovel Press Reader. Illuminet Press, 1995.
  • Philip Lamy. Millennium Rage; Survivalists, White Supremacists and the Doomsday prophecy. Plenum Press, 1996.
  • Jim Keith. OKBomb; Conspiracy and Coverup. Illuminet Press, 1996.
  • Adam Parfrey. Cult Rapture. Feral House, 1995.
  • Norman Cohn. Warrant for Genocide; the Myth of the Jewish world conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Serif, new ed.,1996.
  • Jim Keith. Black Helicopters over America; Strike Force for the New World Order. Illuminet Press, 1996.
  • Grant R. Jeffrey. Prince of Darkness; Antichrist and the New World Order. Bantam, 1995.
  • Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips. TranceFormation of America. Reality Marketing Inc., 1995.


Farewell to Monorail Dreaming. Peter Rogerson

The fall of Concorde and the end of the Twentieth Century 


From Magonia 72, ‘Northern Echoes’, October 2000

Every so often in 2000, the undead but prematurely buried twentieth century has given the odd twitch of life. The fall of Concorde is one such twitch, for it is the end of the last survivor of the forgotten age in which this magazine came into being.

Magonia was born in 1966 as the Merseyside UFO Research Group Bulletin; and in that year the teenagers of Warrington were asked to write essays on the future, including their visions of the year 2000. These unique historical documents, preserved in Warrington Library, have a poignant quality, a sort of lost innocence, in their vision of a largely untroubled future. They mix the immediately practical, better traffic flows and the provision of skating rinks, with visions of the city of the future. You can see this vision in much of the material produced by more professional prophets of the time, the ‘secular city’, of tower blocks, underground shopping centres, personal helicopters, and clean well lit streets, all linked by the great mid 60′s symbol of progress, the monorail.

Concorde was part of this vision, a stepping stone to the hypersonic aircraft, which would give us a day trip to Sydney, or an afternoons shopping in New York. By the end of the 1970′s there would be the first colonies on the moon, Mars by the mid 1980′s (1984 was pencilled in as a year with a particular frisson). 2000 was the distant beacon, the bright, clear, clean, world of shiny clothes, flowing architecture, atomic powered cars. and self sufficient space stations,’ The world of 2001: A Space Odyssey’. This was to be but the surface of the utopian world to come, the Universal Denmark, where war, poverty and the dead irrational past were to be buried.

The White Hot Technological Revolution would scorch away the last remnants of the old world, forgotten like the disappearing bomb sites, and in its place would come the Great Society, the New Frontier, Space, the Final Frontier. This new world had its great emergence myth; ‘by dint of the sacrifice of the war time generation, the old bad world was swept away, not just Hitler and his crew, but the bad old world of poverty and want, of workhouse and child labour’.

This contrast between the dirty, evil, ignorant past, and the bright, glorious present was often drummed into us. What became of those dreams of monorails and planetary exploration, and the white hot technological revolution and the modernist project which lay behind it? Within a few years there would be large scale turning back on the secular city and the monorail dream, and a major cultural rejection of science and technology and a revival of the irrational. In 1966 for example, fundamentalist Christianity was seen by modernists as the preserve of a bunch of ageing, rural Elmrer Gantrys; Islam would perish before modern science and the Socialist Revolution; the nationalisms of the past would be tamed; and if anyone had told you that large numbers of people would believe they had been abducted by aliens, or that there would be literal witch hunts in America and Europe, you would have laughed at them.

What became of those dreams of monorails and planetary exploration, and the white hot technological revolution and the modernist project which lay behind it? 

Monorail dreaming was to fall victim to the antiscientific backlash which developed from the early 1970s onwards; an attitude summarised by Jerome Clark in The Unidentified: “Man is on the brink of a catastrophe because our age has denied him the capacity for the belief in the magical and the wonderful. It has destroyed the mystical, nonrational elements which traditionally tied him to nature and his fellows. It has emphasised rationality to the exclusion of intuition, equations to the exclusion of dreams, male to the exclusion of female, machines to the exclusion of mysteries”.

At that time Jerry could clearly have made a good career move by becoming a speech writer for Prince Charles! Of course, we are led to understand that in unguarded moments Al Gore still comes up with that sort of thing, and though Jerry has later denounced these views at best, romantic, they are still widely influential and have led on to a variety of relativist, post-modernist and related ideologies. It was not, I think, the absence of ‘wonder’ or awe which led to the revolt against science, but perhaps a lack of human centredness and human scale. There is very little awe and wonder in the alternatives proposed, certainly not in paranormalism or forteanism, much of which is profoundly banal. They offer the easy comforts of belief in life after death, a universe filled with people of a different shape, a planned landscape garden universe, created and overseen by a Capability Brown God.

The universe of modern science is not that, it is utterly ‘other’, wild and inhuman, a raw force of creation and destruction of which we are an accidental by-product. Yet Jerry also saw surprisingly clearly what the fruits of untrammelled romanticism would be “the return of the repressed” which would “overwhelm the world and usher in era of madness, superstition ..terror..war, anarchy and fascism”. That, written in the early 1970′s seems hauntingly prophetic, as the failure of modernism to win the hearts and minds of the people has led to the fundamentalist revivals from Iran to Afghanistan, the killing fields of Algeria, the awaking of the old ethnic conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, to the religious fundamentalism, earth-first environmentalism, new ageism and post modernism of the west, the collapse of the nation state in large regions of Africa. If the candle of modernity fails, we may end up in Carl Sagan’s ‘demon haunted world’ after all.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the Universal Denmark is a damned bad idea, whose only redeeming feature is that all the alternatives are so much worse. Perhaps the balance can be restored by realising that human beings, human imagination, culture, art, science and technology and their products are all as much part of the totality of nature, and as worthy as our awe and sense of the sacred as any mountain peak or forest glade.



Off Limits; Ufology and the Deconstruction of Reality. Peter Rogerson

From Magonia 30, August 1988

When I wrote my column ‘Northern Echoes’ to mark the 20th anniversary of MUFORG two years ago l practically wrote the obituary for ufology. Recent developments show that this, like so many such laments, was premature.

There is, I think, a growing separation between the revived ‘folklore’ of ufology, and the views of ‘serious ufologists’. The folklore is one of secrecy, hidden things and duplicity.

Two recent books, [1,2] have brought home to British ufologists one of the major themes of American saucer ufolklore – the Great Conspiracy/Crashed Saucer Saga. Pages of print are devoted to the minute discussion of governmental ephemera and pseudo-ephemera. Clearly the mental climate of Irangate and Spycatcher holds sway here.

The message is ultimately reassuring – Big Daddy in the White House (or Mummy at No. 10) do know what is going on, even if they do not tell us children – after all, we might panic or loose our innocence. The Freudian symbolism is too obvious to count on: parental figures are not letting us in on the truth about alien intruders like foetuses hidden in secret places.

The tellers of the crashed saucer tales clearly gain kudos: they are an elite, They know where Mummy and Daddy have hidden the Christmas presents, and where babies come from. They are children who have gained a toe-hold in the world of grownups. This is maturity of protected innocence, where the grownups may take over again. Like the children in Lord of the Flies, they still believe grownups to be wise, calm, a all-knowing and protective. There is a fall from innocence still to come.

This fall is perhaps best expressed in the folklore of the abductee, which is just part of the folklore of the secret victim. Budd Hopkins’ book [3] deals with ultimate fears. Children taken from their homes, experimented on, tagged like animals; women made pregnant by aliens; changeling children taken away but returning in dreams. These are the themes of fairylore, before fairylore was domesticated and made safe for the nursery. [4,5]

The Terror comes into a child’s bedroom – visitors from that first Wilderness, the dark place under a child’s bed, or the closet in the corner [6]. Kathie Davis’s son Robbie has a night-terror: “Mummy, a man with a big head came in my wall and went into my closet and kept going back and forth and wouldn’t let me move. And he had lights around his head. The man wanted Tommy, Mummy, he wouldn’t let me move”. [3, p.75]

This for Hopkins is good evidence, the best spectral evidence we can have for alien abductions. Other adults would use the same narrative as good evidence for rings of satanic child abusers:

“He was afraid to go to bed and I asked him why. He said ‘Because of the spiders’. I said ‘C’mon, there are no spiders under there’ and he said ‘Oh yes there are, the man down the street told me there are’. I said ‘What man?’ and he said ‘The man who ties me up and puts me in the closet’” [7]

Similarly we may recall the accounts of those who have had childhood fears of haunted houses and ‘not-quite-right’ rooms, told to Andrew MacKenzie. [8]

For just how easily the categories of abduction and child abuse can run together, take this story from a recent issue of the Observer [9]. A fifteen year old black girl disappears for a few days, and reappears in a small town in New York. She is covered in dog faeces and racist graffiti, and tells a tale of abduction and rape by white men in a black car, like the ones MIB use. But there is no physical evidence, her schoolbooks mysteriously reappear at school; perhaps she has just been hiding in a former flat. And yet… all the old Travis Walton questions come back again. She now refuses to speak, and the case has become a racial and political cause célebre.

Here we have echoes of children taken by the fairies or the gypsies or the spirits of the far forest. In Japan this was known as a kamiga-kushi, or abduction by a kami. A boy or young man would disappear from his home, and was believed carried off by a supernatural being to its own realm. Upon the recital of appropriate spells the abductee would reappear days later in some inaccessible place, such as the eves of a temple or the cramped space between the ceiling and roof of his own home. He would lie for days in a stupor, and afterwards may always remain a halfwit. But he may recover to tell of a tall stranger or strangers with gleaming eyes in the form of a mountain sage, or of a flight in the sky, of visions of the Great Wall of China or visits to the sun, moon, or underground passages and caves. At first he may have enjoyed the flight, but later would ask to go home, whereupon he was deposited where he was found. [10]

The myth of the secret victim then has its premise that the most vulnerable are never safe. That we or our children can be taken from the security of the home: that all the while their parents are watching TV in the lounge, Jimmy and Susan upstairs are victims of nameless outrage, that mummy and daddy, secure in the safety of their electric light complacency, know nothing of. Only the specialist, a Budd Hopkins or a Marietta Higgs, by discerning secret stigmata, can uncover the horror.

The folklore tells us that no-one and nowhere is safe from the exotica, not even our own bodies. Hopkins tells us that aliens can take liberties with us, rape us, make us pregnant, steal our babies, implant strange devices in us, like some animals in a zoo. All in secret. The reduction to ‘thing’ status, the humiliation, even such details as Whitley Strieber’s anal rape, can be paralleled in tribal initiation rituals – note also the recent controversy over initiation rituals in the army.
This is the liminal realm, the place of reversals – the wild woman who rides the captive male [see also 11], or the pattern of opposites encountered by Strieber (individual/collective, human/insect, male/female, etc.)

This is what an Amerindian shaman called ‘the space of death’ – the underworld, the zone of visions and communications between natural and supernatural beings: putrefaction, rebirth, death, genesis. This space of death Michael Taussig [12] compares with the concentration camps of Chile and Argentina: the places where the ‘disappeared’ are, as true abductees, taken at night by overwhelming force, reduced to a ‘thing’ status, subjected to inhuman ordeal, and pounded down to abject helplessness.

What horrifies about Hopkins’ aliens is not that they are alien (interbreeding with a true alien is, of course, a total biological absurdity) but that they are us. They are neither benevolent or malevolent, they are ‘just doing their job’, doing ‘what is best in the long run’. Their alienness lies in their denial of humanity, to themselves, and to, the patients/victims as they reduce them to client/experiment status.

The ‘glacial indifference’ of the alien who takes Kathie’s baby and her screams of rage remind me of nothing so much as the final scene of the famous 1960′s TV drama Cathy Come Home (nice coincidence of names there!), where the social workers, with icy indifference, remove Cathy’s children through her screams, because it is ‘for the best’.

However, there are situations where a howl of pain and rage is the only appropriate and healthy response. Kathie’s howl of rage when the aliens came for her child: “I screamed (don’t take my baby] at them… and the fucker looked surprised”, does not disturb in the same way as the following account from Kenneth Ring:

‘A woman had a NDE during childbirth and encountered a being of light who said he had come for her child. She felt joy that her child had been selected and grief stricken that she had no child to give. She had a vision of doctors weighing the life span of the baby on a machine which read 80 years. But the being said the machine was faulty and the baby would only live for a few days. She forgot this until the baby did die, when she felt no grief, only joy.’ [My synopsis, PR]

The beings from Magonia, the exotics, the forces of wild nature, must be offered something of ourselves, our own future, our own vulnerability, in the hope that they will be a little less wild, a little less indifferent.

Like Lady Gregory’s Visions and Beliefs, reading the works of Budd Hopkins is a searing experience, like standing before a furnace of pain. This is the folklore of humanity in extremis, messages from the spaces of death, the landscape of fear, the realm of total impossibility.

Yet an escape route is offered from this realm; one can see it in these narratives. At the very least they hint at a new race – ‘dark they are and golden eyed’ – waiting in some Magonia offstage. There is more than a hint of the Christ Child in the manger in some of these ‘wise baby’ narratives. Are the abductee women to be the parents of some messiah growing under alien skies; their suffering a mark of supernatural grace? The abductees may be given supernatural powers and gifts which catapult them from the realm of absolute impossibility to that of absolute possibility.

This is the realm of the charismatic urban shaman; the contactee. The image of the contactee has begun to make a comeback. Billy Meier is a typical example [14], on fire with the energy of creation and destruction. Like H P Blavatsky [15], L Ron Hubbard [16] or Tony Wedd [17], he creates not only for self expression, but for power.

The manipulation of fictional characters can never satisfy, only the deconstruction and reconstruction of reality as a gigantic novel, with themselves as grand hero and all the rest as cardboard sidekicks. Meier uses his modelling abilities as Hubbard did his writings, to impose power over others – the more ridiculous the charade and the more self-important the victim the better. The parallel with the ‘Psychic Questing’ episodes are clear. The urban shaman can escape from powerlessness by the radically dissocialising identification with the limitless power and total freedom of wild nature. The shaman seeks to ride this power, to harness it. If he fails the grim fate of Louis Riel beckons. [18]

The abductees may rarely reach such heights, but most have experimented spontaneously, with what many societies seek to recapture by ritual and pharmacology – at least enough to know that fairyland was never a place where ‘gentle folks and graceful fairies dance` [19], but rather a place of dead babies and lost women.

When ‘Valerie of Peckham’ sees a star and reports it as a UFO, it is a kind of revelation, a seeing for the very first time

The average run-of-the-mill UFO experience of course, does not have this power. But when ‘Valerie of Peckham’ sees a star and reports it as a UFO, it is a kind of revelation, a seeing for the very first time. She is seeing the world without our usual mental maps. A logical chain of thought is set up which runs

“I would not feel like this is I were looking at a star, but I might feel like this if I were looking at a spaceship, therefore probably I am looking at a spaceship”

These logical chains are in psychological terms ‘secondary delusions’, attempts to rationalise the primary sense of ‘otherness’ and uncanniness. There is a stripping away or shift of meaning of perception. The percipient is momentarily lost in a wilderness of raw perception, bereft of the normal psycho-social maps. [20]

It is not surprising that percipients resist ‘rational explanations’, for such explanations do not correspond with the percipient’s own experience. Valerie knows that it was not a star she saw. Any map, however defective, is better than no map at all.

The dominant folklore in British ufology at the moment appears to be Earthlights or Spook lights. The powerful appeal of this concept lies in its romantic roots. It is a folklore of open spaces, where tales still survive of the eerie secrets of wild nature, before TV and streetlights robbed them of their wonder. It remains a useful antidote to the rather theory-bound nature of much ufology, which carefully screens itself from raw narrative behind masses of computerese and pseudoscience.

On the other hand the Earth Lights hypothesis seems to combine reductionism and romanticism in equal amounts. There is implicit in some of the arguments of Persinger et al, a view of social phenomena which seeks to explain them in terms of physical, environmental factors. One writer – I forget who – tried to ‘explain’ the 1906 Liberal landslide in terms of sunspot activity. This can lead to arguments of the type ‘If it wasn’t for the lead in petrol our children would be nice and docile’, which can easily develop into more sinister lines.

And is not the Romantic view of the past expressed in this lore, close to the ‘preserve the dark satanic mills’ type of heritageism which blocks out the reality of past pain and suffering? I note particularly how in his treatment of the Pendle witches, David Clark subsumes the reality of social strife and persecution into a landscape romanticism, by projecting terror from the human community onto the wild landscape.

There is within Devereux’s presentation a hidden agenda. Many people have criticised his ideas about mental manipulation of subtle energies as seriously detracting from an otherwise ‘reasonable’ theory. But is not the manipulative claim close to the heart of this ideology? This is what transforms the percipient from being a helpless victim of environmental or social forces, into a manipulator, an artist on a grand scale, sculpting the landscape, exercising his will over wild nature. One up on Billy Meier indeed!

Is there not in psychosocial ufology, too, something of this? A determination to assert the autonomy, self-reliance and creativity of human beings against the bleak, impersonal forces of the cosmos, and much of our society. Does not the idea of the alien encroaching on human affairs imply a gigantic ‘no say’, an arbitrary veto on human possibilities.

We can thus see that ufological folklore oscillates between visions of human helplessness before a limitlessly powerful ‘other’, and visions of limitless power and individual creativity.

Ufologists will have to be very careful how they handle this folklore. Perhaps accepting that they are folklorists, recorders of stories – and not freelance geophysicists, intelligence agents or psychiatric social workers – will be the first step on the road to wisdom.



  1.  GOOD, Timothy, Above Top Secret; the world-wide UFO cover-up. Sidgewick and Jackson, 1987.
  2.  RANDLES, Jenny. The UFO Conspiracy; the first 40 years, Blandford, 1987,
  3.  HOPKINS, Bud. Intruders. Random House, 1987.
  4.  BIGGS, Katherine. The Vanishing People, Batsford 1978.
  5.  GREGORY, Lady. Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, Colin Smyth, 1976.
  6.  ’Wilderness Under Daddy’s Bed’, quoted in NASH, Roderick, Wilderness and the American Mind, Yale, 1982.
  7.  RAPPLEYE, Charles, ‘Satanism and Child Abuse’, in Fate, April 1987.
  8.  MacKENZIE, Andrew, The Seen and the Unseen, Weidenfeld, 1981.
  9.  PYE, Michael, ‘When the Victim Refuses to Speak’, The Observer, 1 May 1988, p.35.
  10.  BLAKE, Carmen, ‘Other World Journeys in Japan’, in DAVIDSON, Hilda R G, The Journey to the Other World, D S Brewer for the Folklore Society, 1975.
  11.  DAVIS, Natalie Zemon, ‘Women on Top; symbolic sexual inversion and political disorder in early modern Europe’, in BABCOCK Barbara, A Reversible World; symbolic inversion in art and society, Cornell U. P., 1978.
  12.  TAUSSIG, Michael, Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man, University of Chicago Press, 1981.
  13.  RING, Kenneth, Heading Towards Omega; in search of the meaning of the near-death experience, William Morrow, 1984,
  14.  KINDER, Gary, Light Years, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987.
  15.  MEADE, Martin. Madame Blavatsky, the woman behind the myth. Putnams, 1980.
  16.  MILLER, Russell, Bare-faced Messiah; the true story of L Ron Hubbard. Michael Joseph, 1981,
  17.  HESLETON, Philip, Tony Wedd, New Age Pioneer, Northern Earth Mysteries, 1987.
  18.  FLANAGAN, Thomas. Louis ‘David’ Riel; prophet of the New World, Goodread Biographies, 1983.
  19.  VALLEE, Jacques, Passport to Magonia, Regnery, 1969.
  20.  REED, Graham, The Psychology of Anomalous Experience, Houghton Mifflin, 1974.
  21.  ‘Illusion des soises’, in which friends and relations, though perceived as being physically identical, are not perceived as being ‘really’ that person, but viewed as though they were a double or changeling.