Nostradamus, 1999
Gareth J. Medway

Originally published as ‘Is This It Then?’ in Magonia 67, June 1999

Published in the month before the world was going to end, according to interpretations of Nostradamus, Gareth Medway reviewed the record of the world’s most famous prophet. Phew! We’re still here!

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nostradamus-book

“In the Year 1999 and seven months a great king of terror will descend from the skies, to resuscitate the great king of Angolmois. Before and after Mars will reign for a good while.”

Few prophets, other than those of the Old Testament, have had such a high reputation for so long. the British Library’s pre-1975 catalogue has 101 Nostradamus items, with a further 25 post-1975. These figures should be at least doubled to get the world-wide total. A gauge of his current popularity is shown by the fact that of 15 April 1999, Kensington and Chelsea Libraries listed 39 Nostradamus books on their computer, of which fourteen were out on loan and at least nine had been stolen.

In 1501 Louis XII ordered that all the Jews of France must be baptised or banished. the Notredame family joined the church, but continued to practice Judaism in private. Such insincere conversion was common, but unsafe – Torquemada had recently set up the Spanish inquisition to root out ‘apostates’ (as he termed those who went on practising their old religion when no-one was looking), in his own country. Perhaps in consequence Michel de Notredam, born 1503, better known as Nostradamus, was a Protestant sympathiser in later life. When young, he studied medicine, and took up the risky career of a plague doctor. He was quite successful, but his own wife and children were killed by a plague in Agen.

Then he was accused of heresy, simply because he had described a workman casting a statue of the Virgin as making devils (he said he had merely been referring to the image’s artistic merits). To avoid the Inquisition (who, it seems, despite their fearsome reputation were not too efficient at catching suspected heretics) he led a wandering life for several years.

From about 1550 he began publishing annual almanacs. Not too much is known of these, since almanacs are ephemera which tend to be thrown away after, or even during, the period they cover, and those of Nostradamus have survived in one copy or not at all. Yet they were remarkably successful, being translated into several languages. the British Library has just one of the English translations, The prognostications of maister Michael Nostradamus… for the yeare of our Lords, 1559, Antwerp [118.] (1) It predicts everything from politics to the state of the weather and mysterious items such as “that which shall come into the worlds not out of the belly of a woman, but out of the belly of the earth, shal be wonderful”. (January 1559)

William Fulke was quickly moved to write a book, ANTI-PROGNOSTICON that is to says, an Invective agaynst the vayne and unprofitable predictions of the Astrologians as Nostradame &c., (1560), in which he complained that “in the last yeare” people were slow to worship God as they had been “seduced by the foolish propheseye of Nostradamus”. He went on:

“Yea thys Nostradamus reigned here so lyk a tyrant wyth hys south [sooth] saiyings, that wythout the good lucks of hys prophesies it was thought that nothyng could be broughte to effect. What shal I speaks of the common peoples voyce? Thys days the Bishoppe of Rome must be driuen out of the parliment. To morow the Queens shal take upon her the name of supreame head. After xx dayes all thing shall waxe worse. Such a day shall be the day of the last judgement, that except the true prechers of Goddes holye woorde hadde sharpelye rebuked the people for creditynge suche vayne prophesies, there shoulde haue bene none ends of fears and expectation.”

But the seer’s reputation rests on his Centuries, sets of one hundred quatrains. The first four appeared in 1555. Once again the earliest edition(s) are lost. The earliest known to be extant is a single copy of the 1557 edition, of the first seven centuries, in the Lenin Library (is it still called that?) in Moscow. The first complete edition of all ten centuries was published in 1568, two years after the seer’s death.

Obscure oracles were already popular: the Prophecies of Merlin, published (written?) by Geoffrey of Monmouth, circa 1136, in his Histories of the Kings of Britain, circulated on the continent as well as in Britain, and aroused enough interest for it to be printed at Frankfurt in 1603. They began: “Alas for the Red Dragon, for its end is near. Its cavernous dens shall be occupied by the White Dragon”. The Red Dragon refers to the heraldic beast of the Welsh Celts, who were driven from England by the Saxons.

Probably many other of these strange utterances referred to events which would have been in the future to Merlin, but were in the past to Geoffrey of Monmouth. Yet most of them are so elliptical that even knowing this it would be hard to work out what they might mean: “A hedgehog loaded with apples shall re-build the town and, attracted by the smell of these apples, birds will flock there from many different forests. The Hedgehog shall add a huge palace and then wall it round with six hundred towers.” Any guesses? Another says: “In the days of the Fox a Snake shall be born and this will bring death to human beings. It will encircle London with its long tail and devour those who pass by.” I have heard it suggested that this prophesied the M25. (2)

One method of predicting the future was based on the belief that the different ages of a person’s life, or of the world, were governed by the seven (astrological) planets in turn. This system probably derived from the East and something similar is still done in Hindu astrology. According to Johann Tritheim, the cabalistic Abbot of Spanheim, seven Angels, associated with the planets, presided for 354 years and four months each. The first age of the world – he dated the creation to 15 March 5201 BC – was governed by Orifiel, the Angel of Saturn. The third age of Mars ended in 1525, and was followed by the third age of the Moon, which, he wrote, would be the last: the world would end in 1879. (3)

Nostradamus evidently knew of this theory, for he mentions it in the letter to his son which prefaces the Centuries: “Man makes an end of his course… Now we are governed by the Moon…” However unlike Tritheim, he insists that there are other ages to follow: “…the Sun shall come and the Saturn.” (strangely enough no-one seems to have worked out what Nostradamus was talking about here. Even the most sophisticated commentator, Edgar Leoni, was content to describe this paragraph as “astrological gibberish”.) He goes on to refer to some other system: “We are now in the seventh millenary, which ends all and brings us near the eighth, where the firmament of the eighth sphere is…” (If he had heard of the novel cosmology of Copernicus, evidently he did not agree with it.)

However the biggest influence seems to have been his reading of The Egyptian Mysteries of Iamblichus. This describes the Oracles of the ancients, the Sybil of Delphi who sat on a brazen vessel, and the prophetess of Bronchus, who “holds in her hand a rod given by some deity, and moistens her feet or hem with water, or inhales some vapour from the water, and by this means is filled with divine illumination, and by the God she prophesies.” (4) The first two quatrains are a verse translation of this passage.

By some such means, Nostradamus claimed, “the Divine Essence hath revealed to me by astronomical revolutions” what was to come. However “if I should relate what shall happen hereafter, those of the present Reign, Sect, Religion and Faith, would find it so disagreeing with their fancies, that they would condemn that which future ages shall find and know to be true.” So he chose to write `tin dark and abstruse sentences”.

The majority of his verses are sufficiently vague or obscure that they could be taken to mean all kind of things.This of course has made life easier for his admirers. To make a quatrain fit an event one can interpret mythological allusions and veiled references in a variety of ways. In places he uses anagrams, Chyren for Henry, Rapis for Paris, noir for roy (king); so that when he explicitly says something that did not happen, one can always suppose that he meant something else. Some have taken the whole quatrains to be anagrams for messages totally unrelated to the surface meanings, such as the man who by this means found the names ‘Margaret Thatcher’ and `Ronald Reagan’, and foretold Armageddon in 1986. There has even been apocryphal citation: in 1975 someone told me that Nostradamus had predicted that the world would end in 1975. How he got this idea I don’t know, but it is one of those assertions that could have been passed around endlessly in casual conversation (until 1976).

Whether Nostradamus really could see the future to any extent is one of those questions effectively unanswerable. believers will say he did, others will deny it, and the two sides will never come to a concensus. However I see no reason to accept James Randi’s assertion that Nostradamus was a deliberate fraud. (5) Conjurors make a living by deceiving people and tend to see their own image whereverthey look. It is true that there are men cynical enough to base whole careers on untruths, but such a one would hardly have worked as a plague doctor for so many years, when there would be much safer and more profitable ways on making a dishonest living. (For comparison, historians have often denounced the Elizabethan astrologer Simon Forman as a vulgar fraud. Yet as A. L. Rowse pointed out, Forman often calculated his own horoscope, something no conscious charlatan would ever do.)

There is hardly room in one article to do more than outline the saga of Nostradamus’s popularity, mainly in England. Little or nothing was printed on Nostradamus in the decades leading up to the Civil War, probably because the licensing of the presses made it difficult to get that kind of work into print. But then certain quatrains suddenly came true:

  • Brusles and Gand ‘gainst Antwerp forces bring
  • And London’s Senate put to death their King (century 9: quatrain 49).

Moreover:

  • The Blood a’ th’ Just burnt London rues full sore,
  • When to thrice twenty, you shall add six more.
  • The Ancient Dame shall fall from her high place
  • And the like mischief of others shall deface. (2:51)

London was indeed burnt in 1666. The ‘Ancient Dame’ was taken to mean the old wooden St Paul’s Cathedral, the largest building destroyed in the calamity. 2.53 added:

  • From the Sea-Town the plague shall not retire
  • Until the vengeance of that blood by fire

This appears to refer to the plague that preceded the Great Fire, if you can allow that being on the tidal Thames makes London a ‘sea-town’.Theopilus de Garencieres made the first full English translation of the Centuries in 1672. He used the 1649 French edition, which had two quatrains referring to ‘Nizaram’:

  • When Innocent shall fold the place of Peter,
  • The Sicilian Nizaram shall see himself
  • In great honours, but after that he shall fall
  • Into the dirt of a Civil war.

Garencieres identified Nizaram as Cardinal Mazarin, who is well described by this quatrain: “…can anything be more plain, and yet when I read this forty years ago, I took it to be ridiculous.” (6) Evidently he was suffering from false memory: he could not had read the ‘Nizaram’ verses much more than twenty years previously, as they were forgeries concocted for the 1649 edition by opponents of Mazarin.

A number of other books followed, focusing on particular prophecies. In 1715 a book appeared by “D.D.” (Daniel Defoe?), which said that the quatrains proved that the Hanoverian dynasty would endure “to the Last Day of the World” (not yet proved wrong). In order to show that earlier predictions had been fulfilled he tended to force things. He rendered 4.15 as:

  • The Eldest of both Sisters in the British Island
  • Shall be born Fifteen Years before her Brother.’
  • Because of the fulfilling of her conditional Vow
  • Shall she mount the Throne of the Kingdom which holds the Ballance.

He thought this referred to the children of Henry VIII, even though they were already born when the quatrain was written. Of course Mary was not 15 but 22 years older than Edward. D.D. suggested the seer had slightly misheard his genius: “The Lingua Daemonia uses Septenarios in numerando as we do Denarios.” In modern terms, daemons (in the classical sense of spirits, not necessarily evil spirits) count in base 7 whereas we use base 10. So, Nostradamus was told the sister was 31 (base 7) years older, but heard it as 21 (base 10), that is 15.

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Though no edition of the quatrains seems to have appeared for a couple of centuries after this, that Nostradamus still had a reputation is shown by two books which offered to teach you Nostradamus’s methods of seeing the future, though of course they did no such thing. The Wizard (1816) is a guide to dream interpretation padded out with various unrelated occult items, such as an essay on the ‘Difference between Natural and Diabolical Magic’. It does contain the interesting assertion that “his Mighty book called the Centuries … was iron clasped and iron bound, and was so full of spells that no one dared look into it, and indeed if any attempted to do so, some invisible agent immediately struck them a violent blow, and the clasps shut themselves as fast as they were opened…”, a claim which was presumably believed by someone. The Complete Fortune Teller (1899), is subtitled `The Magic Mirror of Nostradamus’, a book of lots (i.e. with a set of 20 stock answers to each of 140 stock questions); the querent is told to say the invocation ‘Eludor Marpan Gulith Harcon Dibo’, and the ‘Fateful Number’ (selecting the answer) will appear in the ‘magic mirror’.

It is said that when bombs are dropping no-one is an atheist. Certainly World War I produced a wave of interest in old prophecies. and other occult matters, in industrial nations which had prided themselves on their rejection of superstition. Nostradamus pamphlets appeared in French and German, the latter reproducing engravings of the execution of Charles I and the Great Fire of London. Catholic apologist Herbert Thurston wrote The War and the Prophets: Notes on Certain Popular Predictions Current in this Latter Age, in which he felt the need to denounce you-know-who as a humbug: “Nostradamus provides an ingenious system of divination in which the misses can never be recorded and only the hits come to the surface. For the reputation of the would-be prophet such conditions are naturally ideal.” (7)

nostradamus

In October 1939 Frau Goebbels was sitting up in bed reading a popular occult book with a chapter on Nostradamus, which mentioned a German interpretation which had predicted upheavals in Great Britain and Poland in 1939. She promptly woke her husband, who realised at once that such material could have propaganda value for the Nazis. So he summoned the author, who nervously said that he did not have any Nostradamus material relating to contemporary affairs, but suggested that he try the Swiss born astrologer Carl Ernst Kraft, who enthusiastically took on the job. Whilst Goebbels no doubt regarded the prophecies in a wholly cynical way, Krafft did believe they had forecast Germany’s glorious destiny, in which he believed. These were circulated in various ways, including a fake edition of the Evening Standard dropped on London in 1940.

Meanwhile Louis de Wohl had convinced British intelligence that Hitler was employing Krafft as his personal astrologer. The British establishment did not believe in as-trology, but recognised that Hitler might, so they employed de Wohl to tell them what astrological advice Krafft could be giving Hitler, which if correct might enable them to guess what Nazi offensives would be launched. In fact, since then no evidence has emerged that Hitler consulted Krafft or any other astrologer. Moreover the interpretation of horoscopes is quite a personal thing, and it is doubtful if one astrologer could predict what another would be saying.

So British intelligence created their own counter-interpretations of Nostradamus. The references to `Hister’ were likely they meant the river Ister, better known as the Danube. 3:30 says:

  • He who is wrestling and martial deeds
  • Had carried thee prize before his better
  • By night six shall abuse him in his bed
  • Being naked and without harness he shall suddenly be surprised

They changed ‘He’ (Ce-luy) to ‘Hister’ making it look as if Hitler was going to be assassinated in his bed. James Lover’s Nostradamus or the Future Foretold, published in London in 1942, was seemingly an independent work, but he mentions that Louis de Wohl had worked out his horoscope “in order that I might understand the method of procedure”, suggesting that the work had at least government approval.There was also a spontaneous interest over in America: Leone lists half a dozen books which appeared in the U.S. during the war, of which the least prophetical was Hugh Allen’s Window in Provence (1943), which claimed that all the predictions actually referred to the period 1933 to 1945, and mostly to the United States.

“Accordingly, Allan specified the exact timing and manner in which England would again be-come Catholic and the United States would be invaded and devastated (twice) by various German and Italian forces. the siege of New York by the ‘Nazi-Fascist-Communist’ force was to begin ‘before sunrise on October 29 or 30, 1942′. Alas, this and other dates had already gone by before the book was published!” (8)

The most recent wave of interest in Nostradamus had its beginning in the Taylorian Library, Oxford, when an original edition of the quatrains was delivered by mistake to the desk of the mediaeval scholar Erika Cheetham. In due course she produced a large study which was helped to succeed by its date, 1973: it was just then that a mass market for esoteric literature had sprung up. The Prophesies of Nosdamus rode on the wave of popularity of such titles as were advertised at the back of the Corgi paperback edition – Chariots of the Gods and The Ancient Magic of the Pyramids.

Cheetham modernised interpretations by suggesting that Nostradamus had foreseen the rise of technology: “When weapons and documents are enclosed in a fish, out of it will come a man who will then make war” (2:5) – a military submarine, she said. “There will be let loose living fire and hidden death, fearful inside dreadful globes” (5:8), which sounds like an attack by (nuclear?) bombs.However, one must be cautious here, since whilst people in the sixteenth century didn’t know much about science, they certainly believed in miracles. 1:64 refers to “battles seen and fought in the skies”, which Cheetham calls a “remarkable” account of aeroplane battles. Yet in Nostradamus’s time there were frequent reports of people seeing, or thinking they saw, aerial men fighting (with contemporary weapons) in the sky. These were regarded as prodigies, sent by providence. Another common alleged prodigy was of animals that spoke, and this was referred to in the next line of the same quatrain: “The brute beasts will be heard to speak”.

As the seventh month of 1999 draws near (but bear in mind that in some old calendars the year began in March), some people are going to get nervous. Erika Cheetham thought that the enigmatic Angolmois meant the Mongolian Antichrist, and said it was a “gloomy prediction” of the end of the world. J. H. Brennan is more positive: “…it is possible we are back to the extra-terrestrial hypothesis, with national and international differences abruptly dwarfed by the appearance of a terrifying, but technically advanced, alien life force capable of cloning the cells of our ancient dead to produce a spurious resurrection?” (9)

Anyone tempted to do away with themselves to avoid the coming terror should consider this: apart from the ‘London burning’ quatrain (which didn’t specify the century), there are only seven quatrains, out of more than 900, which give an actual date, and for six of them it has passed.

6:2 says that 1580, more or less one, “will await a very strange century”, which means little, and that in 1703 “the skies as Witness that several kingdoms, one to five, will make a change” – which might refer to the War of the Spanish Succession. (D.D. Wrote.- “It is very well known that it was not in the Year 1703, but at the End of the Year 1700 that the king of France has broken the Partition Treaty and exchanged Five Kingdoms for one. Thence it is very likely that the Verse, En l’an sept cents & trois, cieux en tesmoins, might have formerly run thus: En l’an sept cents je crois cieux tesmoins“)

5:64 predicts for 1607 “the Arabs captured by the King of Morocco” (or vice-versa?), which Erika Cheetham concedes to be “one of Nostradamus’s total failures”. According to 8:71, that same year astrologers would be “drive out, banned and their books censored” by a church council. Believers have said this was fulfilled when the 1607 Council of Malines forbade astrology – a curious conclusion, since the nearest Catholic reference book will tell you that the Council of Malines was held in 1570, but not one mention that astrology was on its agenda. 10:91 said a wicked man from Campania would be elected Pope in 1609, but in the event Paul V held the papal seat from 1606 to 1621. People of the East would almost subdue the North in 1700, said 1:49, but they didn’t. 3:77 foretold, in October 1727, “the king of Persia captured by those of Egypt” – that month a peace was made between Persia and the Turks, whose empire included Egypt – so this was not totally wrong, but not totally right either.

We are living in unsettled times. All the same I don’t see a need to sell your home and move to the South Pole on the basis of Nostradamus alone. Still, without any clairvoyance at all, one can prophesy a coming panic.

REFERENCES:

  1. Edgar Leoni lasts two other American libraries. An almanacke for 1559 (different from the Prognostications for that year?), in the Huntington Library, and An Almanacke For… M.D.LXII, Folger Shakespear Library. Edgar Leone, Nostradamus and his Prophecies, Bell Publishing, New York, 1982 (1st 1961), p.54.
  2. Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, translated by Lewis Thorpe, Penguin Classics, 1966, pp.171, 178, 180.
  3. Johann Tritheim, De Septum Secundeis, (2nd? ed.), Frankfurt, 1545.
  4. Iamblichus, De Mysteries Aegyptiorum, Lyons, 1549, p.67
  5. James Randi, The Mask of Nostradamus, Prometheus, 1993, p.154.
  6. The True Prophecies or Prognostications of Michael Nostradamus, p.294
  7. Thurston, The War and The Prophets, Burns & Oates, 1915, p.165.
  8. Leone, p.74.
  9. J. H. Brennan, Nostradamus; Visions of the Future, Thorsons, 1992, p.211

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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

Bigfoot

  • 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.

Helicopters

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

Time

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

Airships

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.

Fatima

  • 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.

Shamanism

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

Apparitions

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

Manson

  • 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.

 

Lo! He Comes in Clouds Descending.
John Fletcher

From Magonia 1, Autumn 1979

hostMillenarianism, the active looking forward and expectation of the imminent end of the world is an extremely common human outlook. We tend to associate it solely with Christian belief, where it is enshrined most spectacularly in the Book of Revelation. The outlook, though unacknowledged, is equally held by agnostics and aethists – it is a constant in human nature. In politics those on the right say that things have never been worse; with positive relish they declare that we are on the edge of an abyss and unless a strong man takes over post-haste and lays down the law in no uncertain terms, then God help us. Those on the left see what they assume to be the ever increasing chaos – any quick glance at newspapers over the last hundred years will show that things are no more nor less chaotic than they have ever been – as living proof that the end of our present society is at hand, the revolution is nigh, and then paradise shall descend and we shall all live as brothers and sisters in Eden. Those in the centre are as millenarian as anyone – just vote for me, just forgo that pay demand, just stifle this natural instinct in the cause of the common good, and somewhere just over the horizon is the Promised Land.

Nearly all of us, somewhere inside us believe that if only one or two things could happen, then there would be a miraculous transformation of society, and everything is going to be an eternity of coming up roses.

Since the earliest times, man has wished to be aware of the approach of catastrophic changes in his life. Much of megalithic technology provided an accurate forecast of cosmic events. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was originally started by monks to ensure that an accurate calendar could be computated and observed in religious ceremonies. The coming of comets was as important as the passing of kings – the first often precipitating the latter. Fred Hoyle is now garlanding us with a theory that each passing comet drowns us in a new and deadly strain of bacteria. Comets were traditionally harbingers of disease and plague. Eclipses of the sun interfere with the balance of gravitational pulls, and caused earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which in turn, through the amount of dust in the atmosphere, can seriously affect the weather and crops in ensuing years.

Scientists have for some time now equated vigorous sunspot activity with poor weather conditions on Earth. In a New Scientist article (Our Inconstant Sun, 18th January 1979), Dr David Clark [not the contemporary ufologist, Ed.] has traced beck records of sunspots by Chinese astronomers for 2000 years. What is unusual is not only that these two phenomena (sunspots and bad weather) do correlate, but that the onset of bad sunspot cycles also, time and time again, correspond with the overthrow of one dynasty and the start of another. In all traditional societies, the king or queen was seen as a representative of the heavenly powers on earth, and should a messenger such as a comet or earthquake be seen or experienced on earth it was taken as a sign that the overthrow of the mighty was imminent. Plague and famine were signs of bad rulers, who were sacrificed to assuage the angry gods or forces. The death rate amongst Anglo-Saxon kings at times of hardship is phenomenal. As Shakespeare puts it in Richard III:

The bay trees in our country are all withered,
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven;
The pale faced moon looks bloody on the earth
And lean-looked prophets whisper fearful change.
These signs fortell the death or fall of kings.

In tribal societies, where the kings or queens were sacral rather than possessing political or military Power and ruled by consent, then changeovers and replacements were usually accepted without undue fuss. However in feudal society, when kings ruled by force, change was effected by force, then the roles of prophecy and portent changed. For the rulers, they would have to reflect the permanence and legitimacy of that rule. For the ambitious and powerful who wished to usurp power they would need to foretell a new star rising. For the underprivileged and exploited at the bottom of the pile, the prophets would be looked for to promise sudden change, violent revenge and better times to come.

This position was further aggravated by the arrival of Christianity, a monomaniacal, monotheistic religion, which, to be crudely cynical for a moment, relied for much of its selling power to possible converts on its promised contract between God and believer. A promise that God would soon come, in person to rule in glory, create paradise on earth, overthrow the mighty, punish the wicked (especially the powerful), and reward the faithful. What is more, the actual coming is described in graphic detail, with armies marching through the skies, lightning flashed, thunderclouds, flying scrolls, etc.

Such writings not only gave consolation to the poor and downtrodden, they actively gave them hope; and the worse their situation grew, the greater was that hope. Even until well into the nineteenth century any halfway decent thunderstorm could be sure to bring the poorer elements of a district out into the streets, on their knees, imploring the Lord for mercy.

For several centuries in the late Middle Ages and up to the Civil War, it was a capital offence to possess any books or manuscripts of prophecy which foretold the overthrow of the King – secular prophets like Mother Shipton [left], Richard Nixon (sic!), and Nostradamus, using astrological predictions being considered especially subversive. With the Bible however, the authorities were faced with a particular problem. A significant part of their power rested on a belief in divine sanction, provided by the Bible. And yet within itself, the Bible contained the seeds for their overthrow. Theology and dogma aside, the main reason for opposing the translation of the Bible for so long was the scaring thought that the faithful might actually read it!

banks_shipton_1With the Civil War, both secular power – through the King – and religious power – through the Archbishop of Canterbury – came toppling down. The sale of prophesies boomed as never before. A foreign observer of the time described the English as being ‘half-dead with prophecy’. In 1611, with a total eclipse of the sun, the rich left London in droves, and the end of the world was expected. It was believed that with the overthrow of Church and King, Christ’s descent to earth was imminent. Several people came forward proclaiming themselves as Christ or as the prophets of His second coming foretold in Revelations. With Satan’s stranglehold broken, there were reports from all over England of flaming portents and marching armies filling the skies, heralding the Apocalypse. As always in revolutions, before the party men take over, there was that amazing hiatus during which people actually demand the impossible and are transformed with energy and imagination.

I will deal with the millenarianism in one area – Somerset – in some detail. Somerset where there was a flourishing wool trade, was probably the most politically and religiously radical area in the country. As the revolution gradually foundered, and as it became increasingly obvious by the late 1650′s that the monarchy and the Church of England would be restored, the psychological pressure grew amongst believers for Christ to march with His army to succour the faithful on earth. The pressure began to manifest itself in various psychic and paranormal phenomena. There was an outburst of witch-hunts, prosecutions and executions, especially in areas where nonconformist craftsmen were prevalent. In the most famous case at Shepton Mallet, two women were executed on the evidence of a young boy who claimed they had bewitched him and caused him to fly through the air – a spectacle observed by several witnesses.

Then came a series of sightings of second suns in the sky, second moons, and armies marching thorough the skies and giving battle, which preceded the Act of Uniformity in 1662. By this time not only had the counter-revolution succeeded by the restoration of Charles II, but Anti-Christ, in the shape of the Church of England, was coming back to preside over every parish, while their own Nonconformist pastors were being banished or imprisoned. If Christ was to come, then it must be before the Act of Uniformity became law. Despite the return of ‘Anti-Christ’ however the West Country, and Somerset in particular, remained a hot-bed of sedition. Astrologers, prophets and non-conformists were unceasingly brought to trial, imprisoned, or whipped round the town on market day. For twenty years the whole West Country was coming to the boil of the Monmouth Rebellion, when once more Civil War radicals and millenarians would rise.

In May 1683, only two years before Monmouth landed, there were large scale outbreaks of possession and witchcraft in villages like Spreyton and towns like Barnstaple, amongst the Nonconformist weavers. At Spreyton a man was hounded by spirits and thrown from his horse in front of witnesses by invisible beings and propelled through the air. There were hags and apparitions which came and haunted the entire village, and poltergeist activity.

Some idea of the millenarian atmosphere in the West Country just before the Monmouth Rebellion can be gauged by the letters Andrew Paschal, the Rector of Chedzoy in Somerset – a parish contiguous to Sedgemoor – wrote to the antiquary John Aubrey:

“Before our troubles (the Rebellion) came on we had such signs as used to be deemed forerunners of such things. In May 1680 there was that monstrous birth at Isle Brewers, a parish in Somerset, which at that time was much taken note of – two female children joined in their bodies from the breast down. They were born May 19th, and christened Aquila and Priscilla. May 29th I saw them well and likely to live. About at the same time, reports went of divers others in the inferior sorts of animals, both the oviparous and viviparous kinds. But perhaps many of these, and the other odd things then talked of, owed, if not their being, yet their dress, to superstition and fancy. In the January following, Monday the 3rd, at seven in the morning, we had an earthquake, which I myself felt here It came with a whizzing gust of wind from the west end of my house which shook it. This motion was observed in Bridgewater, Taunton, Wells and other places, and near some caverns in the Mendip Hills and was said to be accompanied by thundering noises.

“In the end of the year 1684, 12 Dec., were seen from this place, at sun rising, parahelii, and this when in a clear, sharp, frosty morning there were no clouds to make the reflection. It was probably from the thickness of the atmosphere. The place of the fight (Sedgemoor) which was in the following summer, was near a line drawn from the eyes of the spectators to these mock suns.”

This system of aligning aerial phenomenon with important political events was one used be Aubrey himself. He notes that on 1st May 1647, at Broadchalk, in Wiltshire, two rainbows appeared circling the sun. On the 3rd June 1647, Cornet took his prisoner Charles I (a vastly important symbolic political act) from Holdenby to the Isle of Wight. From Broadchalk the Island lay exactly in the direction where the rainbows intersected. Again at the end of 1688, when the landing of William of Orange (a sort of moderate Monmouth) was expected daily, Aubrey noted two balls of light appear in the sky above Bishop’s Lavington in Wiltshire.

As the negro spiritual has it (many black slave beliefs had West Country origins, white slaves – often condemned Monmouth rebels – historically preceding them on southern plantations): And the Lord hung a rainbow, as a sign, Won’t be water, but fire next time.

What I have been trying to do so far is describe how in a religious society, well versed in the Bible, political and social strains often express themselves in visionary, ecstatic and transcendental states of mind. Since not only the natural world – through comets, eclipses, etc. – but also the Lord God Almighty, through fiery chariots, Armies of the Apocalypse, etc., has decided to show his immanence and power in the sky, then there can be no surprise when the faithful, convinced of the immanence of the End, see evidence of it writ large across the heavens. Because religion, or at least a literal interpretation of the Bible, no longer has such a hold over large parts of the population in the Western world, this does not mean that the desire for a complete break with the past and a deus-ex-machina to descend and change everything, has gone away.

It is in this context that I wish to examine the Ohio Airship flap of 1897, particularly in reference to an excellent article In the Winter 1978 edition of Pursuit magazine, by Andrew E Rothovius, entitled ‘Analogies of the Propogation Waves of the Great Fear in France, 1789, and of the Airship Flap in Ohio, 1897′.

I should stress that I have been unable to get hold of contemporary newspapers from Ohio, and my deductions of Ohio society at this time were garnered from Bristol Central Library. Perhaps any American reader might be interested in following it up.

Rothovius’s article describes in some detail the spread through provincial France, on the eve of the outbreak of the Revolution, of reports of massacres of French civilians by foreign invading troops. The reports were all similar. A exhausted man, his clothes in disarray, would run into his neighbouring village, saying that he had personally witnessed the complete destruction of his own village and the massacre of its inhabitants by troops.

This would create panic and the news would be passed on to the next village in a similar manner. Gradually, villagers of the second village picked up courage to visit the first, supposedly ransacked, village. But here they would discover that everything was normal. When taxed with this, the messengers from each village would refuse to believe it, swearing that they had personal seen the attacks take place. These wild panics spread across the country in a series of waves, often taking several weeks before they petered out. However, one thing should be noted: these panics only took place in those parts of the country where the peasants had not actually risen in physical rebellion against the crown and their lords. Where this had taken place the rumours did not spread. In the areas which did not rise the rumours seem to have acted as a sort of pseudo-rebellion.

Rothovius draws parallels between this phenomenon and the spread of the reported sightings of airships through Ohio, following the lines of the railroads, and spread by farmers as they went by railroad to their local market town. There are however two points on which I wish to take him up. The first is on the question of the visions being prophetic, in that they were of relatively sophisticated airships at a time when no such craft existed. While it is impossible to prove anything either way, I would argue that precognition is in no way demonstrated by these sightings. Secondly, Rothovius portrays Ohio and its residents as ‘tranquil’ at the time of these sightings. I will show that this was very far from being the case.

The nineteenth century was an age of scientific and technological revolution, a process that still continues. It also saw the advent of the mass-circulation newspaper. In the changing world of today, the art form we look towards to explain our changing society is science-fiction – whether we are talking about the esoteric buffs, or the watchers of ‘Blakes Seven’. There is a feeling that science-fiction is something new, or at least only goes back as far as H G Wells; the trouble being that science fiction has a form of built-in obsolescence, losing its appeal as time proves its prophecies hopelessly wrong. In fact science fiction was both more wide-spread and more avidly consumed in the 19th Century than it is today (see Patterns of Expectation, 1644 -2001 by I F Clarks, Cape 1979)

Its vehicle was the popular press. This public hunger for science fiction was proved as early as 1835 with the notorious Great Lunar Hoax of the New York Sun. The editor, keen to boost his circulation, printed a series of stories purporting to come from South Africa, from the mouth of the famous English astronomer Sir John Herschel, who had witnessed through his telescope abundant evidence of teeming life forms on the moon. Each story gave graphic, highly imaginative descriptions of the life supposedly observed there. Within a few days the Sun became the largest circulation newspaper in the world, and stayed that way even after the hoax was discovered. (It would be interesting for some American Fortean to pursue the question of whether there was a simultaneous outbreak of reports of strange and exotic life forms here on Earth. Again, whether Edgar Allen Poe’s wildly successful hoax of 1844 – also in the Sun – of a fictitious three day crossing of the Atlantic by balloon, led to an outbreak of airship reports.)

In a world in which society was changing daily by the forces of new technology there was not only an immense demand for information on the latest technology, how it worked, what it looked like (a demand satisfied in England by such magazines as the Illustrated London News), but also for huge wads of imaginative fiction which would allow the public’s consciousness to come to terms with this whole Autre Monde – the title of a contemporary French magazine which did precisely this.

The wildly successful literature of those like Verne, whose work was printed and reprinted over and over again in the popular press, fulfilled this need. Science fiction however, not only provided fantastic, thrilling descriptions of the power and influence of contemporary technology, but also it drew on and reinforced and reinvigorated certain basic human myths.

audusym2Consider the myth of another civilisation living below us under the Earth’s surface. Common in classical times and Celtic mythology, it was first disinterred in modern times by Baron Holberg’s Journey to the World Underground, in 1741, and rapidly became a staple of European and American fiction. In 1818 Captain John Symmes [right] sent his famous memorandum to the governments and principal institutions of the world proposing an expedition to the centre of the Earth. He stated: “I ask one hundred brave companions, well equipped, to start from Siberia in the fall season with reindeers and Sleighs.” Entrance to the underground world was to be found at the North Pole. Poe’s story ‘Ms. Found in a Bottle’, Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and countless imitators kept the myth alive in the public sub-consciousness into the twentieth century. In California in the late nineteen thirties a playboy named Joe Bell started his Mankind United movement by preaching that a race of little men with metal heads who lived in the centre of the world would tell cultists what to do, through his revelations. Mainly they seemed to tell his quarter of a million followers that they should present Joe Bell with large sums of money. Finally, in our own day we have the group of cultists who believe that UFOs come from a hole in the Earth at the North Pole.

Thus popular science fiction not only visualised and explained the effects of the latest technology to its mass readership, it also nourished basic myths within the human soul. One of the great fantasies of mankind – at least amongst men – is to dream of fighting and making war, where with the press of a button one send whole nations into oblivion. Science fiction of course pandered shamelessly to this fantasy (just as it does today) and the full panoply of Verne’s futuristic technology were wielded with gay abandon against opposing nations or revolting natives. The 1860′s and 70′s, the heyday of Verne and his imitators, was also the great age of imperial expansion, when national psyches were being whipped up for the first time by the mass popular press, into a frenzy of insecurity and its invariable concomitant, aggression. It was an age of social Darwinism, of the intellectual legitimization of one race – be it Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, French – massacring, conquering and subjecting other races because they were inherently inferior, had black skins, long noses or ate garlic.

Science fiction was not only fun. Those ambitious for power and influence began to use it to scare and manipulate the public into accepting their demands – usually for increased militarization. The first and most famous of these attempts was probably Sir George Tompkins Chesney’s The Battle of Dorking, published in 1871. The first writer seriously to take stock of the advances in modern weaponry and to Imagine its use in modern warfare, Chesney wrote a graphic and powerful description of a well-armed France invading and devastating Southern England, as an attempt to scare the British into adopting a programme of national conscription. His book was successful. It was published and serialised in England, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Melbourne, and translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, and provoked seventeen counter-attacks and imitations in English alone. It produced a host of imitations – scare stories like Erskine Childer’s Riddle of the Sands about the threat of a German invasion – which led not only to a far greater sense of national identity, but to the creation of a war psychosis.

In the USA the most famous perpetrator of the militaristic scare was an Admiral Mahan, who in successive books showed how the key to imperial power in the past had always been sea power, and that if America was to stand the aggression of acquisitive foreign powers and take its rightful place in the race for colonial power, the America should scrap its rundown fleet of coast-guard vessels and start building battleships – quick! Since his views coincided rather neatly with American big-business, which needed access to cheap raw materials, then the battleships were built rather quickly. Soon the US had a new battle fleet, which needed someone to fight. Eyes fell upon the local sick-man, Spain. Spain’s Caribbean and Pacific colonies looked in need of some strong, virile rule. This sudden encouragement of a war psychosis amongst the American people colncided with a newspaper circulation war between the Pulitzer newspaper chain, and
the Hearst papers.

Hearst himself was rather friendly with the tycoons of the Sugar Trust, who were casting covetous eyes on Cuba. Hearst decided his interests lay in whipping up war fever by portraying the alleged barbarities of Spanish rule, and damning the faint hearts at home (mainly the Pulitzer papers) who were unwilling to take a stand against these ‘outrages’. By 1879 Hearst’s campaign had provoked the nation to war, and Hearst was on his way to winning his own circulation war.

The papers were filled, not only with photos and descriptions of the war, but with ripping, stirring, futuristic yarns of technological derring-do, in which Anglo-Saxon supermen patrolled the world in flying machines and airships, crushing ‘lower races’ into submission. 

Many of these tales of young men conquering the world were written in the name of socialism. The young men were nationalist socialists who would conquer the world for their particular race in the name of socialism. Thus after technology had been used briefly in a destructive fashion to get power into the hands of those idealistic enough and competent enough to use it, science would then be applied to bring the secular millennium about, here on Earth. Science was the religion of the nineteenth century, technology promised the millennium, and mass popular science fiction served as the holy scriptures. Airships had been foretold, therefore in popular consciousness there was no reason why they should not be foreseen.

In 1897 Ohio was in social, political and economic turmoil. It was everything but ‘tranquil’. From the time of the Civil War Ohio had become the centre of the American industrial revolution, and was politically dominated by the interests of steel, oil and coal, which in turn were intimately associated with Washington. The majority of American presidents were to come from Ohio until the 1920s. There were several unsuccessful attempts at a state level to break the business stranglehold on the levers of power and break the economic monopoly. In the first of a series of deep slumps there was a bitter railroad strike in 1877, the violent Hocking Valley coal strike in 1884, the 1892 Homestead Massacre of steelworkers in contiguous Pennsylvania, the extremely violent Pullman strike of 1894, and Jacob S Coxley’s famous march to Washington in 1894 to protest against unemployment. He dubbed the marchers the ‘Commonweal of Christ’ and took as his slogan ‘Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, but Death to Interest on Bonds’. The march was unsuccessful.

By 1897 industrial Ohio was well into the worst slump in its history. The Protestant church was was beginning to show an interest and concern in social and economic matters in Ohio. In 1882, Washington Gladden started his ‘Social Gospel’ ministry in Columbus, which was to last thirty years, and have a profound effect on congregations and ministers throughout America. It gave attention to economic and social reform and criticized the creed of economic individualism and greed.

The airship was spotted in rural Ohio where farming was likewise going through a profound depression. The price index for farm produce had fallen continuously since the Civil War. In 1866 it had been 140, in 1896 it had fallen to 56, due to the opening of new farming lands in the Far West and abroad. Farming in the Mid West was in chaos. The Kansas saying: “In God we trust, in Kansas we bust” held true for the whole of the Mid-West, where, it has been calculated that during the 1890′s, 90% of all farms changed hands.

The people were still desperate and hoping for an immediate change in their situation. In a secularised, industrialised materialistic society, their God was now symbolised by scientific and technological wonders rather than the cumbersome imagery of the Book of Revelation

This general impoverishment of the Mid-Western farmers – most of them ram-rod straight Protestants – resulted in the rise of the political movement known as Populism. This movement blamed the slump on the extortion of railroad barons who exploited their monopoly on transporting the farmers’ produce to market, and on an international conspiracy of financiers who kept the price of gold artificially high, and thus kept ordinary people in continual debt and penury. The Populist Party, which was to sweep America, was formed at Cincinnati in Ohio in 1891. It was given a great impetus, firstly by the financial panic and collapse on Wall Street in 1893, and then by the Gold Reserve Crisis of 1895. In 1896 with the American industrial and agricultural slump reaching its depths, the Democrats nominated a populist, an ex-preacher and Protestant minister, Williams Jennings Bryan, to run as their presidential candidate. Denounced as an anarchist and revolutionary, in November 1896, only five months before the airship sightings, Bryan made a famous speech concluding: “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”.

Bryan lost the election narrowly – It was a contest between the moneyed East, the creditors, and the impoverished West and South, the debtors.

 If, at the height of the depression, politics failed, what else was there to turn to? Due to the inadequacies of the Bristol Central Library, I lack definite proof, only the strongest circumstantial evidence, that Ohio and the American Mid-West, in the spring of 1897, was in the grip of an intense non-conformist religious revival. The Lord was at hand.

hostPerhaps he did not come in the old Protestant way to save his chosen people, his army marching triumphant across the skies. Maybe over the years the imagery of Christian and secular millenarianism had become confused or changed in the public mind The people were still desperate and hoping for an immediate change in their situation. In a secularised, industrialised materialistic society, their God was now symbolised by scientific and technological wonders rather than the cumbersome imagery of the Book of Revelation, but their desire for the millennium, for salvation remained precisely the same, and that desire took precisely the same form of transcendent images seen in the skies.

There has always been this element of suppressed desire, often idealistic, in the sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena. The Portuguese vision of Fatima took place at a time of intense agricultural depression and poverty.

The little green men, when they climb from their craft or beam their messages down through mediums more often than not express the most admirable and sensible of messages; that nuclear weapons are an abomination and should be banned, that man is killing himself by polluting the world he lives in, that people should love one another.

Until governments and the powerful cease being wicked, corrupt and destructive, until men and women can live with dignity and good-neighbourliness and equality and each is the master of their own destiny, then I venture to say that psychic engines of retribution will continue to trundle over the horizon and through the clouds.

At whatsoever time this eventually does come about, of course, the millennium will finally have come – I expect.

 

The Stranger in the City. Nigel Watson

Originally published in MUFOB New Series 14, Spring 1979

Messages from Beyond

“THIS EARTH is now under close surveillance and profound scrutiny by alien intelligences from distant star systems. I am not being silly, I know what I am saying and doing as well as you.”

So wrote Norman Harrison (1) when he first wrote to John Rimmer, editor of MUFOB In a letter dated 6th January 1978.

Norman – at present living in Sheffield and in his early thirties – then went on to outline the different races of beings which inhabit this galaxy. The first race populate the fourth and fifth planets of Epsilon Eridani, and are “4ft. tall on average, spindly and yellowish skinned and totally devoid of any hair. Their heads are disproportionately large due to further evolved brain capacity.”

A second race inhabits three planets orbiting Canopus; a third race derive from Proxima Centauri III and IV. A fourth in-habits the two planets of Capella. Describing these latter races, Norman wrote that they are quite similar to each other and that they are “over 7ft tall on average, powerfully built and extremely agile, [have] fine blonde hair and [are] musically and artistically gifted. These three are of one Root Race type, corresponding to Earth Nordic.”

The stars of Betelguese IV, V and VI in Orion are the location of the fifth race of aliens, and a sixth populates the constellations of Ursa Major and Casseiopeia. In particular this race occupies the solar systems of Merak, Alcor, and Dubhe in Ursa Major. The whole race is linked in a confederation and their colonies are densely populated. Other than being humanoid, Norman does not describe the appearance of these two races.

“All these aliens have spacecraft capable of exceeding light velocity several times over and have the facility to set up impenetrable force fields as well as invisibility shields. They make use of unimaginably advanced energy propulsion technology and have extremely powerful electromagnetic- gravitic devices at their disposal, all capable of effecting vital changes in this world. Force fields and rays are extensivlely utilised at enormous distances: in spite of the long distance these are resolved to fine focus and can be intensified as required to influence the course of events on Earth.

“Many of their Earth contingents are military task-force or scientific field operatives. The remainder engaged in collating or compiling vital information, making regular operational shuttle trips and submitting dataa reports to their base planets.”

Norman received this information about our galactic neighbours by way of telepathic communication from aliens. These communications began in 1975 and occurred with increasing frequency over the next three years. In a letter to me dated 17th March 1978 he wrote that: “these ‘contacts’ can occur virtually at any time… I still hardly know what to think about the whole business – if these are hallucinations, I don’t see how they could contain information about the Universe which I never had before.”

One communication which he received was a kind of poem as follows:

The 3 names EPAMINONDAS
INONDAS
EMPUSAS
are Keys of Communication
Controllers of forces
Gravitic waves Impulses
Used in Invocation by Initiates
Who desired wisdom
One such Master was Qebsneuf” (2)

Apparently he does not hear or see things when having a “telepathic” communication, “The information comes through direct without any sensory impressions, vision or delusions Whatever.”

With regards to the above poem, he was rather tired and hungry when he wrote it down, “my mind wasn’t preoccupied with anything, I just felt more or less ‘neutral’ or indifferent. The words just flowed without any conscious direction on my part. This is always the case with either writings or drawings set straight down ‘automatically’. Very often the physically weaker or hungrier I feel, the more clearly the contacts are received.”

In fact, this poem appears to be the only example he has shown me of a literal form of ‘automatic’ writing. The majority of his ‘communications’ are nothing more than impressions which he translates into drawings.

In order that we can get a full perspective of Norman’s experiences, I intend quoting extensively from his letter of the 6th January 1978, sent to John Rimmer, as this describes in some detail the fate of humanity, as he interprets it.

He begins by writing about the ‘Observers’, who on the whole think that

“Human Western society is rapidly falling into catastrophic decline and Mankind is now falling into chaos and absolute folly. They believe there is virtually zero survival probability as a result of mental degeneration and moral decay combined with political corruption, greed and militarism. These and other factors, they feel sure now will destroy all human civilization within anothe half-century.”

This isn’t just pessimism or gloom-and-doom alarmism – these people are infinitely more intelligent, more truly civilized and more mature than any race on Forth, and have reached their conclusions via strict mathematical extrapolative calculus based in historical, social, psychological and economic FACTS. Most of these races have had an intimate exhaustive knowledge of Man for tens of thousands of years and the wisdom of their logic is undeniable.

“I have little to add, except that I am notified that a final terrible war will definitely take place (whether atomic or not) between East and West within three decades, and pollution poisoning will soon endanger all vegetation and animal species of the globe. All the most recent incidents positively indicate to me personally that the aliens are correct. We ignore and gloss over such dire warnings at our peril, and we have no-one but ourselves to blame for the destruction of our own world-home by our madness, ignorance and blind folly.” (3)

These ‘communications’, ‘transmissions’ ‘impressions’, whatever we might label them, were preceded by a UFO sighting, some time in 1974. (4)
Norman was then staying with a friend of his in the Beeston area of Leeds for a few days, when he saw his first and only UFO. His friend had just gone outside for a few minutes, the time was between 8 – 9 pm when Norman had a “distinct urge to get up and look out of the door.”

 harrison-drawing

Opening the door, he saw between the doorframe and the rooftops of the houses across the road, a box-like shape silhouetted against the night sky. Upon it were banks of multi-coloured lights. The object was slanted at an angle towards the ground, and was moving from right to left in the direction of its central axis at slow speed. He heard no sound from this phenomenon, which he estimated to be gliding at a height of 1,000 feet. After twenty seconds it drifted out of view, although: “Why I did not step out into the street for a better look I don’t know.”

Norman’s reaction to the sighting was interesting, as he wrote that: “I wasn’t in the least bit frightened of it, but it did disturb me in an eerie way, as if hypnotic”

He went on to speculate as to what it might have been.

“It must have been a huge carrier vessel of tremendous motive power, capable of containing a number of smaller saucer type craft or several hundred passengers. By proportion and distance, I feel sure it was anything up to 300 feet long. A massive vessel like that must be able to traverse the whole galactic radius at speeds far in excess of light velocity who would logically build that big for merely planet to planet journeys. Who would employ that much propulsion and that scale of motive energy?

“My belief is that this ‘ship’ was from a giant planet in the hub of the Milky Way (Bigger than Texas!!!).”

Early Psi Experiences

Having read Norman’s correspondence with John Rimmer and having arranged to meet him, what could I expect on visiting his household? Norman had anticipated this question by explaining his circumstances in one of his letters.

“I must point out that I live in a working-class area and my house is not too beautiful, being a Victorian terrace council house and rather decrepit now. (I was away when my parents died and the old place was left empty for a year and bad weather and neglect have taken their toll. I’d do a lot but I’ve been unemployed for a long time and live only on State benefit)

“So my surroundings are not ideal for social contacts as you can imagine, I’m embarrased about this! I’ll probably sell the house before long and then I’d like to travel around – the Continent perhaps, who knows.”

When I first met Norman on the 26th February 1978, he told me about how he had experienced distinct impressions from 1968 through to 1969. He felt he had been picking up thoughts that were being powerfully projected towards him. However he could not pick up any words or language or such, but it was a “kind of thought expression that doesn’t rely on language. And not a true voice that you could hear… but the sensation of words virtually spontaneously,” he said. Usually he had these experiences when in a state of meditation, when sitting down of before going io sleep. Norman described his condition as in a “diminished state” when he had these experiences, but not a condition like a trance or under the influence of drink or drugs. On most occasions he was on his own when this phenomena happened but once he was walking along a city street when he felt that he could tell what people were thinking.

On another occasion during this period he and a friend visited a Spiritualist Church in Sheffield, when he was “awakened to Christian faith”. The Church was quite full whan they entered and the minister was delivering a sermon. As the minister spoke Norman felt a knot of tension build up in himself. They stood to sing a hymn and half way through it he felt a distinct physical sensation of a twisting knot of tension in the area of the solar plexus.

“I felt this oppressive, almost hostile, precense in the church, I felt a strong hostility, a threat…” he explained. At this juncture, a nearby usher approached Norman and his companion, and said in a quite voice to them: “Would you mind leaving please, I’d like you to go”.

“Just before he approached me this thing was building up to a real climax … as if something was tearing me inside out, literally”, and he added that, “This man sensed that there was something amiss.”

Norman’s friend experienced nothing untoward in the church, and was no doubt puzzled as to why they were asked to leave.

In 1966 Norman knew a girl called Angela who lived in London. He took her out for about four months, and was very serious about her, and “cared an awful lot for her”. However, in due course they went their separate ways. Later in a period when he was feeling emotionally low, very depressed anxious, physically depleted and under-nourished (6) he saw Angela’s face distinctly in front of him, as he was lying down one evening. She seemed to be speaking to him, but he cannot now remember what she was saying, except that the might have been asking him what he was doing, where he was, had he been thinking about her, had he missed her, etc.

Alien Intervention

After relating his experiences of extra-sensory type phenomena he then went on to tell of his UFO sighting of 1973. The details of this are essentially the same as described in his letter of the 4th February 1978. Then he went on to tell me about the extraterrestrial communications he had been receiving.

“I’ve had occasions, not just recently but I should say over the last two or three years, when I’ve been walking outside in the open, in a sort of park or recreation area (8) something like that. The more open air the better. If I was in a large crowd of people… nothing. But on occassion I thought ‘Oh, that’s a daft idea, where did I get it from?’, and then I’d suddenly realise that it’s not an idea, but it’s information. I’d have a sort of powerful influence to get a pen and notepad and jot it down. On some occassions I did this; I didn’t keep the notes, but there have been times… when I’ve drawn pictures, and I’ve had these images which were very clear when I draw them, what I myself perceived was not very clear at all, but in the act of drawing it came through with clarity. And it seemed to me that I’d sort of acted as an unwitting unconscious intermediary and I’ve had this distinct sensation that someone is using me in order to transmit knowledge.”

In particular there are three figures of which he has frequently had recurring impressions.

“None of them sort of stand on the ground, they all seem to be just suspended in space, and there are no buildings or anything recognisable around them at all. As though they were suspended in vacuum. They all have a powerful projection and I’ve not been personally intimidated, it doesn’t seem to me that they are threatening me or in any way warning me, but they have an air of warning or admonition, if you like. Sort of ‘take care’, or ‘watch it’, pay attention.”

The three figures are:

aroniel

Aroniel. This personage is a “tall figure very straight, dressed in a long yellow robe, a flowing yellow robe with a high collar and he looks oriental. He wears a medallion in the centre of his forehead, and his own colour, his skin colour, is yellowish or shall we say golden and he’s like a sort of gold appearance generally…. He carries a book in one hand and the other is raised as if in greeting. The books looks like some sort of old book”

mikael

Mik-Ael. “This is an image of what you might call something like a Crusader or armoured knight figure; chain mail with a tabard or tunic. It’s a white tunic with a broad belt which looks metallic and has buttons on, and the tunic has a … red cross on it. He’s like a crusader, but the helmet is rather strange … it completely conceals the features, you can’t make out the face. It’s not like an ordinary visor but it’s a solid, transparent sort of plate with a division in the middle. At the bottom (of it) there is a little round disc thing with a wire. He has… full sleeves and gauntlets, heavy gauntlets and he’s carrying a sword in one hand.

“He sort of stands very powerfully with his legs apart. He presents either a challenging or shall we say an extremely aggressive, intimidating strength or just an image of strength. Its an intimidating sort of an agressive image. His sword has
 a sort of red radiance… and he himself is surrounded with red, a deep scarlet or crimson. I should say it is crimson actually. It’s like an aura or radiance all around him.”

uriel

Uriel. The third figure “has long, flowing robes, blue and green, and has like a blue or greenish-blue sort of radiance around him… this third one has white hair and apparently normal skin colour or slightly blue tinge and a white beard and white hair, and he also looks big, powerful but not in a military or a Crusader knight-in-armour fashion, but he looks as though he’s sort of… tremendously ancient, tremendously, you know, tremendous power at his disposal. He doesn’t seem to carry anything, he’s got like a sash around the waist and he wears something like… one of the old fashioned robes of the middle east.”

Later during the interview he explained that the colours of the figures were directly linked with the type of energy they were emitting. He also claimed that he saw these figures in a kind of sequence, sometimes he would ‘see’ them fleetingly for only two – three seconds, other times they would appear for two or three minutes.

Usually the first figure to appear is the one who has supremacy over the other two. Then maybe a few letters or geometrical symbols will appear.

“They seem to be attempting to express relationships, but as I say, some of it isn’t in any sort of expressed language, but there seems to be a logical sequence or progression. It’s not logical to me, I don’t know it, but it’s logical to them.”

Many of the letters he has seen are from Greek and Hebrew sources: “I’ve seen the trianlge over and over again,” he said about the recurring image he has seen over the past four or five months, and has included in many of his drawings, “I’ve seen a triange with an eye in the centre, and I’ve seen this as a visual image, quite literally as though it was suspended in front of my eyes, in broad daylight when I was fully wide awake and stone cold sober – I hardly ever drink.”

This triangle is seen as red coloured with an eye in the centre, which is not like a real eye, but looks effectively like a bright red line drawing of an eye.

He then went on to describe the population of the galaxy, how at the hub there are regions of incalculable amounts of radiance and electromagnetic energy, where discarnate, disembodied ‘beings’ of ultimate intelligence reside. Radiating outwards from the hub, the state of evolution, culture, civilization and society diminish until we reach the very fringes of the galaxy where Neanderthal type beings populate the planets. These lesser planets, including Earth (as our Solar System is much closer to the fringe than the hub) are watched closely by the more superior races who take a parental interest in their evolution. Apparently at the present time there has been a resurgence of interest in our planet.

This renewed interest might bebecause: “Man is a very disobedient wretch and keeps veering off, and getting side-tracked one way or another. The guiding hand keeps bringing him back to dead centre there’s this guidance all the way. There is one definite path of evolution of the spirit and mind.”

According to him, mankind is being constantly helped by outside, alien forces. It was their influence which partly established some of the most ancient of all the Oriental religions. He claims that many early religious figures such as Buddha and Moses were inspired by the influence of the extraterrestrials. Even today, a small number of adepts, who have a profound understanding of metaphysical philosophy, and live in very remote regions of the world, are in direct telepathic communication with alien people.

Through alien intervention, and there are dozens, hundreds of alien races, some of which are almost immortal, the human mind has been triggered off to experience ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, prophecy, predictions, etc. However, we have misused the forces and energy sources available, claims Norman, and distort things for our own greedy ends. We have probably, in the past, been punished for it afterwards. He quoted the examples, among others, of Atlantis and Babylon, and stated that global disasters are initiated from the outside and convey the alien moral stand-point. These purges occur because the bahaviour of mankind can become offensive and noisily wrong.

“Man has destroyed himself as a living specimen at least six times in a row, cataclysm after cataclysm. There have been several cycles of biological life, gradually slowly, painstakingly developing, then flourishing, reaching an apex then declining…

“The Golden Age has long passed, none absolutely none of the 20th Century is anything like the Golden Age. It is a period now of the pinnacle of machinery, it’s a pinnacle of mechanical contrivance, ingenuity is totally materialistic, physical things. It’s a period of total stagnation and decadence in what you might call things of the spirit. There is a complete decline in the ability to understand higher matters… in religious doctrine or philosophical things. Where are the people like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle? Where is the architecture, sculpture and art of Leonardo or Michaelangelo?”

He answers himself by explaining that the difference between them and modern contemporaries is “self evident.”

Premonitions

In the February of 1974. Norman had his first premonition. This was of a plane exploding in mid-air with people from the city of Leeds on board – an event which occurred three weeks later over France.

During August 1974 he was living in London when he had a premonition of the Moorgate tube disaster, which happened in April 1975. He also ‘knew’ that the IRA would be posting letter-bombs to people in London in 1975.

“All these premonitions seemed to me personally that they are being transmitted to me from an outside source,” said Norman, who related that he felt no conscious control over these premonitions.

He also felt certain that mankind would have some crucial contact with extraterrestrials in the near future. It will be with somebody like the Archbishop of Canterbury, or other such celebrity, and their reaction to the encounter will have far reaching consequences.
After my visit and Interview with Norman, he wrote to me on the 17th March, and stated: “I feel quite sure now that these telepathic communications are only the beginning – there must be something more to follow in the future; I have a ‘hunch’ about it”.

In the same letter:

“Although there have been no new telepathic transmissions or impressions since you came over, I have received a warning in the form of one pen sketch which showed a big explosion. It involves highly inflammable chemicals and will happen in Britain within another month. I have no more exact location than that, but I do know this much – it will involve loss of life and will be caused by criminal negligence and carelessness. This forboding is very strong and I know it comes from an outside source. The accident must be connected with a big chemical company like ICI or one of the fuel firms like Esso, or North Sea oil.” (9)

“I hope it doesn’t happen because it will be a horrible tragedy – it could be averted if only there were proper preautions taken.”

Apprehension

On the 2nd April 1978, Roger Hebb and myself visited Norman. During this visit he gave me a book of sketches he had drawn and he showed me the book he had been writing. He had started the book several months previously and it was contained in three large exercise books. The contents consist of many different chapters on a wide range of occult, fortean and ufological subjects, all of which have been synthesised from books he has obtained from the public library.

As with the first visit Norman delivered a victual monologue on the glories of past humanity and the doom laden future. In the letter of the 17th March (after my first visit) Norman seemed to be in an optimistic mood; he planned to buy a typewriter in order to type out his book, and wrote: “I’d like to contribute in any way I can towards fresh understanding and knowledge, it’s become very important to me to devote as much of my attention and spare time as possible towards that end.”

After my second visit he went into a more apprehensive frame of mind as can be observed in the following quote (from a letter to me dated 18th April 1978):
“I’m starting to feel a bit scared: Not really frightened but uneasy, apprehensive. I don’t know what’s causing it, but it’s like a premonition or as if I were neurotic or anxious. I’ve felt like this before, years ago, a vague sensation that passed after a week or so: this time it isn’t very strong, but there’s a definite tension in the air.”

Later on in the letter he adds,

“I can’t pinpoint anything, that’s what gets me, but I sense a threat, a menace; it could be directed at so personally or it could be something much more widespread, some terrible trouble brewing somewhere.”

On the 30th April, Shirley McIver and I visited Norman. Hs was in a more pessimistic mood than usual, and besides a reiteration of much he had said before, claimed that he had “become anaesthetised, I mean 30 years of the constant threat of the atomic bomb is enough to anaesthetise anybody against anything.”

In order to reply to that last statement Shirley McIver joined in the interview, and the conversation continued as fo;;ows:

  • SM: I can’t agree with the acceptance of that state of mind, I think that to live on the defensive, to live with a defence
    mechanism, to sit there and…
  • NH: It is only by total acceptance that I find life tolerable at all. If I failed to accept anything of it I would go completely berserk and throw myself in the river.
  • SM: Well at least that would be a positive act?
  • NH: No, no, that’s a gesture of ultimate defeat, that is saying I have given up. Suicide – I would prefer to live rather than commit suicide and say I have failed. That is the ultimate gesture of defeat.

Earlier in the same interview we discussed his views on religion, and that conversation was as follows:

  • NH: If you have imagination you can concoct your own heaven, and if you’re satisfied with tht, well that’s your fantasy world. Everybody needs a little fantasy this sort of thing does go on. Man is a drug addict, he’s addicted to food, and drink, and sex, and everything else.
  • NW: Your views on life in other systems, do you think that perhaps that’s your fantasy?
  • NH: I recognise in myself a desire to believe in such things, because I have a religious personality. I think of my self as a Christian… I’m not much of one at all. In fact I fall very far short of just about everything that Paul and Jesus said in the Gospels.
  • NW: Were your parents religious?
  • NH: Both parents died years ago. Neither of them were Christian believers. No, they didn’t have any… they kept the Bible in the house and never even looked at it. I prefer to believe in a deity and a supreme being rather than not believe. I take the lesser of what I consider two evils… it’s the prong of the fork. Which is better, to believe or not? And I think – I choose to believe I think it’s better than to be atheist for me personally. I think man has some inborn instict to look out and beyond himself and seek some kind of perfection elsewhere, something that’s greater than himself.
  • NW: But you don’t think much of any forms of established religion?
  • NH: How many people do nowadays? There is so much disillusionment, disappointment in the world because people have lost their sense of direction. There doesn’t seem to be much purpose in life any more.

Conclusions

To put this case into any kind of perspective we need to review Norman’s social and psychological background.

At the age of sixteen he had ambitions of becoming an art or English teacher, however his ambitions were thwarted by his father who made him pursue the totally materialist goal of having to earn a living. So he left school and became an apprentice in the printing trade, then followed a succession of dead-end jobs. Currently he is unemployed and has been so for quite some time. Even now he seems to have a resentment for his father who prevented him from gaining any educational qualifications and a satisfying profession. (10)

As recounted in the main text, Normans parents are now dead and he lives in theirold terraced house, which is located in a grim area of Sheffield. Apparently he has no friends whatsoever in the neighbourhood whose he can converse with or relate to, and having been abandoned by Angela in 1966 he has now become emotionally ‘anaesthetised’. So in effect he is now a virtual recluse (11).

With this state of affairs it is not surprising to learn that he has suffered four nervous breakdowns and is obsessed by the fate of humanity. Having met him on three occasions I can vouch for the fact that he is very verbose, and passionately intense about what he believes to be the gloomy and cataclysmic future of mankind. This fear is not generated by any love he might have for mankind; on the contrary, his fear is for himself.

We might with some justification speculate that his forbodings of some apocalyptic disaster are warnings from his own psyche; the cataclysm being his own mental degeneration and breakdown.

When we consider that he hates what modern science has created – a world of atomic bombs and pollution – yet venerates the very Classical and Renaissance scholars who helped create the foundations of modern science, we can only explain this paradox by quoting Clark and Coleman who wrote that our age “has destroyed the mystical, nonrational elements (of mankind) which (has) traditionally tied him to nature and his fellows. It has emphasised rationality to the exclusion of dreams, male to the exclusion of female, machines to the exclusion of mysteries” (12).

Living as someone who regards himself as being isolated and different from the rest of humanity, it is not surprising that he has transposed his ideas and imagination into an “‘extraterrestrial’ framework.

His concept of the galaxy – pure energy and ultimate intelligence at the hub, Neanderthal beings on the edge – corresponds to concepts of heaven and hell, Jekyll and Hyde or unconscious and conscious, with the mortal Human pivoted between the two.

Even worse, we do not have full control over our destiny: the aliens have intervened throughout human history in order that we follow the “one definite path of evolution of the spirit and mind”. Yet mankind cannot come up to this ‘parental’ expectation (13) so we are punishedd for our morally offensive behaviour.

To conclude, we might surmise that the messages of the aliens to Norman are metaphorical and symbolic expressions of Norman’s own feelings of guilt, isolation, alienation and emotional stagnation, which have emanated from his own psyche. It is no wonder that he fears the impending cataclysm.

—————————————————————————————-

NOTES

  1. Real name and address on file.
  2. Norman concluded that this poem might be connected with some form of black magic ritual, and that the three words are analogous to Classical Greek. “Qebsfeuf” he claims must have been an Egyptian high priest or prince.
  3. This theme is repeated in a letter dated 4th February 1978, when he relates that: “I feel that we of the struggling Western world are now approaching the brink of the most crucial and perhaps decisive period in the last ten centuries of human history. It could turn out to be the brink of a terrifying chasm: I fear so, but I hope not. Much will be learned soon that  has previously only been guessed. Some will understand, but many will be blind and foolish and destructive.”
  4. It is interesting to note that people who have had unusual UFO contacts, appear to have had a UFO sighting preceding their later, more bizarre experiences by several years. In the case of Paul Bennett (see MUFON NS 11 & 12) he saw a UFO three years before he had more frequent and stranger sightings. Another case in my files concerns a Mrs Josephine Elissah who observed a UFO in 1964, and then ten years later began to write down ‘messages’ from the space people. Similar time lags can be seen in the UFO literature. Perhaps after the initial observation the witness needs to assimilate the implications of their sighting and put it in some form of context.
  5. This comment in brackets is a rather curious statement.
  6. In a later interview it seems that he was at this time in Pentonville Prison for not paying a fine he incurred when found guilty of being in possession of cannabis. He was given a three-month sentence, which was reduced to eight weeks with remission.
  7. This experience took place when he was confined to a solitary detention cell. Norman had hoped to marry Angela, but because her parents disapproved of him their relationship collapsed. However this telepathic communication did make him feel a lot better and he was able to cope with his imprisonment afterwards.
  8. On one occasion he was walking through a park in Sheffield when he heard a kind of telepathic communication between a mother and son. They seemed to be separated over a long distance and Norman described this experience as akin to tapping in on a telephone conversation.
  9. This tragedy never came about.
  10. When asked why he didn’t do anything constructive in the field of art, he listed all the obstacles and problems involved. The fact that he doesn’t own a typewriter seems to be a major stumbling block for any progress with his book.
  11. The fact that he has spent considerable amount of time writing his book and communicated with John Rimmer and myself were signs that he was attempting to emerge from his seclusion. But after my third visit to him, he felt that any further visits by myself would in effect be a waste of tine. Since then I have not heard anything more from him.
  12. Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. The Unidentified, Warner, 1975. p.240.
  13. Just as Norman was unable to fulfil the expectations of his own father or the expectations of Angela’s parents.

Crash! Peter Rogerson

From Magonia 16, July 1984

Peter Rogerson examines the psychology of radical misperception, and the fears that lie behind the power of myth.

magship narrowIn his excellent and perceptive article in Magonia 15, Jacques Scornaux raises some vital points, among which are the process of radical misperception, and the failure of rationalist analysis of human society.

I would like to couple these perceptions with an analysis of some of the neo-romanticist attitudes which have arisen in recent ufology.

In trying to come to terms with works such as The Green Stone, it is dishonest not to acknowledge real difficulty. The gut-reaction is to wax indignant about the betrayal of integrity by the participants, who confuse reality with ‘dragon and dungeon’ fantasy. Given the recent press coverage of clerical condemnation of such fantasy games, it is perhaps wise to take the ‘new ufology’ route of trying to see the motivation behind such fantasies, without impressing ones own value judgements.

It is clear that, for example, the storyline of The Green Stone represents a process by which evil is defeated and cultural boundaries re-established by a series of ritual acts. Whether or not these events occurred in ‘real life’, they may well be the process whereby certain individuals are able to redefine their own psycho-social boundaries.

Furthermore, it seems that it is an excellent example of the main theme of the neo-romanticist revolt: the rejection of the intellect, the cult of immediate experience. For some ufologists the UFO experience becomes an access to an alternative reality, a twilight zone beyond the world of daylight reason. For example, Paul Devereux’s own UFO sighting takes on this aspect.

Devereux’s account of his peak experience is a prime example – ditching his own ‘naive realism’, recognising that the perceived image is not the same as the object watched, then it becomes clear that the ‘Earthlight’ or whatever is a sign of transcendence, a radical break with ‘daylight’ reason. The misperception, in effect the marginalisation of the perception, opens the door to the numinous. The radical misperception is, in a very real sense, a seeing for the first time, parallel with the sense of perceptual shock produced by such drugs as LSD. Here enters the idea of Magonia in disguise – the secret of the cosmos in a leaf blowing in the wind – going right back to the initial study of fairy-lore. We can thus equate radical misperception (or re-perception) with enlightenment.

Now let us try to work out why ordinary events should reveal their numinousness by masquerading as alien spaceships. Alien spaceships are contemporary cultural symbols of the ‘wholly other’, seen in other cultures as spirits, gods, etc. When the moon is seen as a phantom spaceship it reveals a sense of its radically alien nature.

This ‘misperception’, the enchanted glimpse into the mysterious heart of the ordinary, transforms the life of the percipient

This ‘misperception’, the enchanted glimpse into the mysterious heart of the ordinary, transforms the life of the percipient. It lifts them from the world of daylight reason and commonsense by reintroducing drama into the world. “Something out of the ordinary”, quite different from the dull, normal round, has taken place – at the very least the percipient has a good after-dinner story. To admit that it was ‘only’ a misperception thus deflates the percipient, it reduces them from being a ‘witness’ of the magical and ‘wholly other’, to being a ‘victim’ of a trick of light and mind.

It would seem that much of the neo-romantic, fantasy enterprise is a way of holding onto that drama and retaining the perception of the numinous. The ‘investigators’ now become figures in a drama of their own construction, enacted in its own world of meaning which is in stark contrast to the banal world of bureaucratic routine.

Ultimately the neo-romantic UFO quest becomes a protest against the hollowness of the world of ‘reason’, of senseless trivial conversation which obfuscates all real meaning. Given this glimpse of magical escape, few would willingly subside back into such a world. Where the neo-romantics fail is in their attempt to draw this encounter with Magonia into the daylight world by insisting that ‘these things can be’. Untempered by reason and commonsense, Magonia can soon ‘abduct’ us.

What is this ‘Magonia’ which is encountered in the shades of twilight? It seems to me to represent the ‘Wilderness’, all those aspects of reality and the world which are beyond rational control. It stands against the world of human reason, culture and ingenuity, which I shall call ‘Habitat’ (I apologise to anthropologists and others who may take exception to the term, I am simply looking for verbal symbols at present).

One writer on psychical research has used an excellent term to describe our encounters with Magonia – ‘crashing’. Magonia descends on us like a ten-ton weight – suddenly the ghost is in the house; the light on the road is a spacecraft; the polt throws the pots at us; Nessie surfaces onto the placid surface from unplumbed depths. Wilderness is upon us.

It is hardly surprising that those with an extremely strong commitment to some metaphysical ‘Habitat’ system should be extremely disturbed by this. Rationalists and Christian fundamentalists, deeply commited to strict rules and tight repression, when confronted with the crashing in of Wilderness, without so much as a knock on the door, not surprisingly are tempted to see it as a manifestation of evil, or at least cosmic bad form!

In the opening chapter of Book of the Damned, Fort compares the ‘damned data’ to the lumpenproletariat of society, unacceptable in the bourgeois drawing room. This is a profound insight, indeed. Part of the central force, the dynamic potential of the ‘crash’ of Magonia, is its equation with the untamed aspect of the personality, society and cosmos. Fortean phenomena are damned because ultimately they are signs of pure ‘Wilderness’. It is obvious that on a macro scale this ‘crashing’ can lead to disaster. Iran is a prime example of the sudden explosion of dramatic mythic power into a society, and the chaos which results when that power is unchecked.

It seems to me that Scornaux is correct in his estimate of the power of myths on our society, for good or ill. The Falklands or Greenham Common are excellent testimony to the power of a-rational appeals on human history; and it is not at all clear what myths may drive a world that is coming up to a close encounter with annihilation. There is just no way of telling what would happen in the last hours of countdown to nuclear war, but perhaps one could hope against all reason that there would emerge from Magonia an elemental, global, lust for life which would sweep all before it. Perhaps in this crisis of final despair all existing social ties would be broken, and all government, power and authority would be smashed apart.It would no doubt be the second greatest human tragedy possible, yet for all its pain and grief, might it not be an infinitely better outcome than that Last Winter?

A time must come when all the polite little articles and not so polite book reviews become just idle chatter. If we are to take our role seriously we must speak out at some point. For more and more people the shock that lies at the heart of Magonia is the realisation of a world order founded on cynicism, tyranny and mendacity, and defended ultimately by the threat of the immeasurably evil crime of mondocide – the murder of a world and all life, hope, love, joy; yes, even hate and sorrow! It is hardly surprising then that there is “crime, banditry and the distress of nations”. Indeed, the greatest imaginable sign of hope, and the greatest testimony of support for wise old Pelagius, is that there is so little, and that they overwhelming majority of people demonstrate, for the overwhelming majority of the time, so much love, tenderness, kindness and compassion.

It signals that human beings are not politico-economic puppets, miserable sinners requiring supernatural grace or extra-terrestrial nannying. Nor are they lumps of jelly whose sole purpose is carrying ‘selfish genes’, or spirits trapped in alien matter, ‘strangers in a strange land’. Rather we are the Children of Olduvai, the One People, the inheritors of the multiform cultures of our planet, bound for the stars. What dreams the dust of the universe dreams, and what greater hope could one have than this.

 

Apocalyptophilia. Peter Rogerson

apocalyptophilia

 

The UFO as an integral part of the apocalyptophilia and irrationality of the mid twentieth century

From MUFOB, volume 4, number 1, Spring 1971

It is clear from the accumulating body of evidence that the phenomenon of the UFO represents a far more profound challenge to our physical and psychological concepts of reality than has hitherto been assumed. As I have pointed out previously much of what is now occurring in this field violates the traditional sharp dividing lime between objectivity and subjectivity. Indeed it seems probable that the various manifestations of the, UFO such as fiction, dream, hallucination, hoax and ‘objective’ reality, far from being mutually independent phenomena only coincidentally linked, are in fact facets of a single mythological event.

The myth arising from the depths of the subconscious mind of the percipient can ascend levels of ‘reality’, even to the point of affecting the objective universe, (In the Appleton case mentioned in the last issue the ‘myth’ was strong enough to appear to produce genetic mutation.)

The present upsurge of ‘controversial phenomena’ would appear to be due to the reappearance of mythological forms long buried in the subconscious. In many respects it would appear that the rational universe described by 1nineteenth century positivism which had been the basis of scientific and philosophical discussion since the mid-eighteenth century is fading. At previous points in history when myths have been discarded they have been rapidly replaced by a new set of myths, which modelled themselves on the former. In many respects for example the scientific myth is modelled on that of the theism it replaced. It has had its prophets, (Einstein Freud, etc.) high priests who held the ‘magic’ secrets of the tribe which allow men some dominion or control over the external universe, churches,(learned societies) catechisms and ritual (theorems, text books) bibles (Nature magazine), not forgetting the heretics who must be periodically sacrificed to appease the anger of the gods. The purpose of all these mythologies has been to make the universe appear rational and susceptible to appeasement or control by man.

It is also patently obvious that such myths are essential to the development of rational civilisation, offering protection from the terrors of the dark. With each successive wave of mythology it has appeared that this mastery has grown stronger, and with the defeat of Fascism had overcome the last great resistance of medieval anti-reason. Even the ultimate catastrophe of nuclear war could only dent civilisation, we were informed; we could sit back, smiling patronisingly at third world countries where witch-doctors put spells on opposing football teams.

By now it is obvious that the dam has burst; the horrors so long buried in forgotten recesses of the mind surge out! obliterating all reasonable critical faculties, Look at the news in the ‘Daily Grouse’: “Devil Cults Sweep Britain; Rev. Nigel Queege: How I exorcised 10,000 demons by telephone”, to see this. There has been an unprecedented rise of superstition; nightmares known only from obscure Latin tones translated by Montague Summers emerge to inspire terror abroad the land. Trendy clerics like Mervyn Stockwood call openly for exorcisms. It seems that society is almost ready for the reappearance of Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General.

In the United States it would appear that the situation is even worse. An atmosphere of brooding ‘apocalyptophilia’ hangs over the nation. In a recent essay on ‘Assassination Prophecies‘, by Gordon Prentice (1) it was demonstrated how the prophesying of people like Jeanne Dixon had created an atmosphere of expectation of, and even desire for, dramatic tragedy. This desire, the apocalyptophilia mentioned above couldn’t have been more clearly demonstrated than is the relish with which large sections of the American population eagerly awaited the prophesied devastation or even sinking, of California by means of disastrous earthquakes. There seemed to be something of an anticlimax when the nightmare failed to materialise.

It would appear that the apocalyptophilia of the past few years is growing, seemingly caused by a feeling in certain quarters that only some climactic, archetypal event can prevent society degenerating into a technocratic nightmare. The recent call by the novelist Gore Vidal for a new Messiah is indicative of the desperation of some people.

In many ways the UFO can be seen as an integral part of this myth. Two facets separate, yet complementary can be distinguished. One is the desire to escape to Magonia, a land of unsullied beautiful nostalgic tranquillity, a golden age of archetypal past.

Such views are the inspiration (apparently) of the various organisations on the fringes of ufology. One of the most notable of these is the ‘Ley Hunting’ movement) which seems to have attracted a great deal of support from the ‘hippy’ community with its harmonious appeal of a harmonious wisdom-filled Golden Age. The growth of these escapist elements would seem to support the views of the psychoanalyst and parapsychologist Nandor Fodor (2), that fairyland is symbolic of the womb, a land of milk and honey beyond time and space.

The second facet is that of uninhibited, elemental power of destruction the UFO as aggressor. This myth seems even more bound up with apocalyptophilia, containing as it does a desire for interplanetary war the ultimate apocalypse.

Such beliefs are not only the subject of nervous chatter among young American ‘saucer enthusiasts’ but also for example, in the case of the Black Muslims who see UFOs as the avengers who will destroy white society which oppresses them, the eschatological myth of a neo-religion. (3)

Thus the UFO is an integral symbol of the growing irrationality with its associated apocalyptophilia of the mid-twentieth century. As the two great monoliths of established religion and scientific positivism are crumbling the vacuum is being filled by horrors from the pages of Tudor history. There is little doubt that the UFO is among them. In the end it looks as though civilisation will collapse with a whimper because three hundred years of scholarship was incapable of overcoming the darkness of primeval night, when it came to the crunch.

Footnote: While this article was being written the Manchester Evening News of March 22, 1971 carried under the headline “Black Magic – Danger to Children” a piece about Canon Peace-Higgins’ ravings against the sale of ouija boards. In such a case it is not clear which is the bigger fool, the manufacturer of toys which can have damaging effects on emotionally unbalanced people, or the Rev. Pearce-Higgins, whose hysterical outbursts can do nothing but damage to serious parapsychology.

                                                                           

References:

  1.  Prentice, Gordon. ‘Assassination Prophecies’ in Ebon, Martin (Editor), The Psychic Reader, Signet (1969), pp60-65.
  2.  Fodor, Nandor. Between Two Worlds, Paperback Library (1967), pp 207-210.
  3.  Thayer, George. The Farther Shores of Politics (1963), (Chapter on Black Nationalists) 
  • Apocalyptophilia: (coined word) = Desire for the end of the world; a general desire for earth-shattering events

 

Apocalypse When? Roger Sandell

From Magonia 18, January 1985

It might be thought that after the noticeable non-appearance of the end of the world and the ‘Great King of Terror’ in 1999, Nostradamus’s stock would be at an all-time low as the new millennium took off fairly uneventfully. Not so. Already various prophesies have been manipulated and invented to show that Nostradamus ‘prophesied’ the World Trade Center attacks in September 2001. This article/review from 1985, in which Roger Sandell looks at the way Nostradamus’s words have been used by many writers for many different purposes, now seems to be more relevant than ever!

 
nostradamusThe sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were the heyday of prophecy. Popular chapbooks told of the amazing abilities of figures like Mother Shipton, and quoted after the event verses which appeared to foretell events such as the Spanish Armada and the Civil War. Real historical figures like Roger Bacon might be invoked, and prophecies allegedly discovered hundreds of years after their death would turn out to be relevant to the news of the day.

The writings of Nostradamus are the only survivors of this literature that continue to be republished and evoke a response in public consciousness. To some extent it is easy to see why. Alone among the alleged authors of the prophecies of his era, Nostradamus was a real person rather than a legendary figure, who published the prophecies himself. However, the reputation of Nostradamus remains a semi-underground one, with many who have never read a single book on the subject vaguely believing “there must be something in it”, or aware that Nostradamus is credited with seeing World War II or future nuclear devastation.

The reception of Jean Charles de Fontbrune’s book Nostradamus [1] has been the most remarkable recent manifestation of belief in Nostradamus. Its first appearance in France in 1980 was the subject of major news stories in the popular press of several European countries, and even inspired cover stories in journals such as Der Spiegel and Die Ziet. An opinion poll in France shortly after its publication revealed astonishingly that 75% of the French population were aware of this book, and 25% believed its forecasts of the future.

To a large extent this book has now discredited itself. It is now 1985 and there is no sign of the Soviet-Arab invasion of Europe, which should already have taken place, according to de Fontbrume’s readings. And while sudden surprises do occur in the political world, there seems little reason to expect the restoration of the French monarchy by 1986, his final date for these events. These facts however did not prevent Hutchinsons bringing out the British edition in 1983, when some predictions had already been falsified, and Corgi from reprinting it last year. An eloquent testimony to the scant regard publishers have for their own books on occultism and their low opinion of the intelligence of potential readers. However, since this is unlikely to be the last Nostradamus book, it is worth examining de Fontbrune’s methods in some detail.

To vindicate the prophet’s previous record, the author translates Nostradamus’s sixteenth century verses into modern English (or French, in the books original edition) and compares them with later events from the sixteenth century to the present. A wide variety of events are claimed as fulfilling Nostradamus’s predictions, including the careers of Louis XIV and Napoleon, the Russian revolution and the World Wars. To a casual reader the results may seem impressive. However it does not take very detailed examination to arouse great doubts, not only about Nostradamus, but also about de Fontbrune. First there are some cases in which the prophecy manifestly bears no relation to the event de Fontbrune claims fulfilled it. Take for example the prophecy

L’anne Royal sur coursier voligeant
Picquer viendra si rudiment courir,
Gueule lipée pied dans l’estrein pleignant
Traine tire, horriblement mourir.

The king’s eldest son, on a runaway horse, will suddenly fall headfirst in its rush, the horse’s mouth being injured in the lip, with the rider’s foot caught, groaning, dragged and pulled, he will die horribly.” [All translations are de Fontbrune's]

This specifically describes a riding accident in which a rider falls with his foot rapped in the stirrup and is dragged by the horse. De Fontbrune is obviously unable to find any royal heir who has died in this manner, so he claims this relates to the death in 1842 of the eldest son of Louis Phillipe of France who died, as the book itself makes clear, by being thrown out of a coach pulled by a bolting horse. A very different matter.

Other prophecies bear more relation to their alleged fulfillment, but are too vague to be taken seriously. For example, de Fontbrune solemnly claims the failure of East-West disarmament talks is indicated by the prophecy:

Plusieurs viendrant et parleront de paix
Entre monarques et seigneurs bien puissant
Mais ne sera accordé de si pres
Que ne se rendent plus qu’autres obeissant

There will be talk of peace between powerful heads of state but peace will not be agreed for the heads of state will be no wiser than any other.

Surely it would be tedious to list the number of failed peace conferences since the sixteenth century that could be claimed to fulfill this prophecy.

The game of finding alternative interpretations of Nostradamus can be carried on indefinitely. Thus de Fontbrune claims that the Jewish settlement of Palestine is foretold by:

Nouveax venus lieu basty sans défence
Occuper la place par lors inhabitable
Prez, maison, champs, villes, prendre a plaisance
Faim, peste, guerre, arpen long labourable

Newcomers will build town without defence and occupy hitherto uninhabitable places. They will take with pleasure fields, houses lands and towns. Then famine sickness and war shall be on the land tilled for a long time.

In fact these words could equally apply to the opening of the American west, followed by the civil War and the Indian Wars, or to the British settlement of the Falkland Islands and the war with Argentina.

Even when specific placenames are given, plenty of ambiguity remains. De Fontbrune relates the lines:

Par vie et mort changé regne d’Ongrie
La loy sera plus aspre que service …

Power will be changed by life and death in Hungary. The law will be more pitiless than customs.

to the Hungarian uprising of 1956 but they fit equally the Communist revolt of 1919 or the nationalist rising of 1848. Indeed, it would be hard to think of a country that, since the time of Nostradamus, has not had some kind of revolution to which these words apply.

There are other serious objections to Fontbrune. The most serious is that like most modern commentators, he makes no attempt to put Nostradamus in the context of his own time, and analyze what his language and references meant to his original audience. As anyone who has ever read any commentaries to Shakespeare will know, this is a job which, as with any writer of the past, calles for a great deal of knowledge. With someone like Nostradamus, who deliberately cloaked his words in obscurity, it is doubly difficult.

De Fontbrune refers to this problem in his introduction, and at times makes great play of deciphering Nostradamus’s obscure classical references. However at other times he chooses to ignore the plain meaning that the prophecies would have conveyed to their original audiences. Thus he takes references to les rouges as meaning ‘Reds’ in the modern sense, whereas in the sixteenth century it would have been understood as referring to Roman Catholic cardinals. One particular blatant example is his interpretation of the verse that states:

Du Lac leman les sermons fascheront
Des jours seront reduits par les semaines
Puis mois, puis an puis tous défailleront
Les magistrats damneront lers lois vaines

The speeches at the Lake of Geneva will cause ferment; days will be followed by weeks then months, then years, then everything will collapse an legislators will curse their vain laws.

This is taken to refer to Geneva’s modern role as a centre for international conferences, and the neglect of the Geneva Convention in modern warfare. But it would have been obvious to any reader of Nostradamus’s time that this was simply a prediction of the fall of Calvinist Geneva, which was known throughout Europe for its long sermons and harsh laws.

When one attempts to look at Nostradamus in this light, many apparently impressive hits start to fade away. Like many writers, de Fontbrune is impressed by one verse that contains the names of two twentieth-century Spanish leaders: Rivera and Franco (in ‘Castelfranco’). However, Rivera and Castelfranco are both towns in northern Italy, where many wars were fought in the sixteenth century. There is a similar explanation for the repeated claim (not however to be found in de Fontbrune’s book) that Nostradamus’s mentions of ‘Hister’ are prophecies of the life of Hitler. Although this is perhaps the best known of Nostradamus’s ‘hits’ in fact Hister is simply the Latin name for the Danube, and it is clear from the contexts in which this name appears that that he is writing of a river, not a person.

Worse is to come. There are places where de Fontbrune’s translations into modern language are gravely misleading. For some reason he seems to be determined to conceal from his readers that astrology is central to the prophet’s writings. In one instance he translates the line Satur au boef, Iove en l’eau, Mars an fleiche, as “When the time comes for violence and revolution, wars will spread”. It clearly means nothing of the kind, and is an astrological reference to Saturn in Taurus, Jupiter in Aquarius and Mars in Sagittarius. On other occasions he misrepresents the original to make it appear that a prophecy has been fulfilled. When we are told that Nostradamus wrote:

The leader who will have lead the immortal people far from its own sky will end his life in the middle of the sea on a rocky island with a population of five thousand whose language and customs are different.

It seems a convincing of Napoleon’s exile on St Helena, but on turning to the original one finds:

Le chef qu’aura conduict people infiny
Loing de son cil, de meurs et langue estrange
Cinq mil en Crete et tessalie finy.

Crete and Thessaly have become “a rocky island”. There are many similar examples. Le sainct empire viendra en Germanie becomes “The Russians will come into Afghanistan”. We are told that Russia is le sainct empire because of its traditional name of Holy Russia, but there is little explanation of how Germanie has become ‘Afghanistan’.

Can misrepresentation go further? Indeed it can. The whole context of the prophecies is misrepresented. The majority of them come from the Centuries, Nostradamus’s main collection of prophetic verses, but some of them are reprinted from another of his works, the Presages. However, the reader is not informed that the Presages were a sort of almanac with predictions attached, very unsuccessfully, to specific months in the near future. De Fontbrune ignores this and links verses from the Presages to events centuries after Nostradamus.

nostradamus bookHe also suppresses the introduction Nostradamus wrote to his original Centuries in which he gives a prose outline of his predictions for the future of Europe, which bear no resemblance to anything that has really happened. For example, he predicts a revival of the venetian Empire so that by the end of the eighteenth century it would be as powerful as Rome. The compiler quotes merely half a sentence from this introduction, and does it in a way that makes his deliberate misrepresentation clear. Nostradamus foretells that the eighteenth century will see a major persecution of the Church which will last to 1792. De Fontbrune takes only the second half of this sentence and quotes it as “It [the French monarchy] will last until 1792″.

From the past, de Fontbrune moves on to depict an immediate future (when the book was written) in which Europe is invaded by Soviet and Arab armies, liberated by Anglo-American forces. A restored French monarch, King Henry, completes the rout of the invaders. Apart from the presence of Russians and Americans, all these themes do in fact correspond to important elements in the prophecies of Nostradamus, but her again they must be taken within the context of their times.

Most of the prophecies relate to what Nostradamus expected for his near-future. He states in his introduction that he cloaks his prophecies in obscure language to protect himself from the authorities, a procedure that would be pointless if he really thought they related to events centuries hence which would be meaningless to his contemporaries.. There are certainly many verses that indicate he expected a major war between Christendom and Islam in the future, but this would hardly be surprising in an era when the Turks still threatened Vienna and Arab pirates raided all over the Mediterranean.

Similarly, the lines de Fontbrune interprets as referring to an Anglo-American landing in France against the invaders do indicate that Nostradamus expected to see another era when the English occupied much of France as they did in the Middle Ages. Once again, with the English expelled from Calais only in 1555, the year he published his Centuries, and English kings still formally claiming the French throne, this would not have seemed surprising to his contemporaries. As for the all-conquoring Henry, all the evidence is that Nostradamus expected his contemporary, King Henry II of France to fulfill this role, in accordance with the conventions of the prophetic literature of the period. This frequently proclaimed that some contemporary ruler would prove to be a messianic figure who would unite Europe, reconcile the churches and regain Jerusalem. Oliver Cromwell, Edward VI of England and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden were all candidates in different writings. [2]

Much interesting background to Nostradamus is to be found in the book by David Pitt Francis [3], who unlike de Fontbrune, makes a serious attempt to present Nostradamus in the context of his times and as a result comes to largely sceptical conclusions. However in the process he does resort to some dubious arguments. His attempt to compile a statistical analysis of Nostradamus does not seem convincing to me, in view of the difficulty of properly quantifying much of the data. Neither does there seem to be much real evidence for his suggestion that some later rulers may have deliberately undertaken certain acts to make it look as if Nostradamus predicted their actions.

It is not clear until the final section that the author is an evangelical Christian who believes that some of Nostradamus’s successes may have come from his knowledge of the prophetic books of the Bible. I find this suggestion neither necessary nor convincing, although like most other authors of the prophetic literature of the period, Nostradamus was probably influenced by the apocalyptic sections of the Bible.

The revival of interest in Nostradamus at the present time is an interesting phenomenon. De Fontbrune was probably fortunate in that his book, which touched much of the interest off, first appeared in 1980 at a time when international tension was growing and fears of a nuclear war were reaching public consciousness. Although there is no real reason to believe that Nostradamus foresaw any of this, the revival of interest in centuries-old apocalyptic works is a very real sign of the times.


 References
1. Jean-Charles de Fontbrune. Nostradamus; Countdown to Apocalypse. Hutchinson, 1983; Corgi, 1984.
2. Keith Thomas. Religion and the decline of Magic, Weidenfeld, 1971.
3. David Pitt Francis. Nostradamus; prophecies of present times? Aquarian Press, 1984


 

Blood, Vision and Brimstone. Part 3

 

BRIMSTONE

“The collective unconscious, too long repressed, will break free, overwhelm the world and usher in a world of madness, superstition and terror… war, anarchy and fascism.”

Kenneth Ring and Jenny Randles have noted the similarities between abductions and the near-death experience, so let us start this section with a very abduction-like NDE.

Dannian Brinkley, an ex-soldier and intelligence agent is on the phone when he is struck by lightning. He then has a typical NDE, experiencing images such as the tunnel, the Being of Light, and the life review. Then he is taken up by the Being to a crystal city where he is led into a cathedral of learning. The Being disappears, leaving him alone, or with invisible spirits. Then, on a podium, thirteen great Beings of Light present him with visions of the End Time. These conform to a classic right-wing agenda: domestic collapse, and the alliance of Arabs and orientals against the west, Syrians developing chemical weapons, nuclear catastrophe and starvation in Russia, a Sino-Russian war, a war in the desert between two vast armies, a computer genius who controls the world by inserting computer chips under people’s skin, and many similar prophecies. To prevent this, Brinkley is given a mission to build meditation rooms. Returned to life, and a surprisingly good recovery, he possesses powers of telepathy and other wild talents (Brinkley and Parry, passim.).

The perceptive reader will have seen the cultural symbolism: the desert war, now being touted as a premonition of the Gulf War but originally no doubt supposed to be the Battle of Armageddon, and the computer expert who is in fact the Antichrist, the Beast of Revelations who will mark everyone with 666.

For the Buryats of Siberia, Brinkley would have been a lightning shaman, empowered by the lightning bolt. In some cultures the lightning shaman is dismembered and reassembled with another strike. After being struck by lightning the Blackfoot medicine man Wolf Head developed wild talents and high creative abilities. (36) An example of the second motif is Wovoka, the leader of the 1890 Native-American ghost dance movement. He became ill during an eclipse of the sun in January 1887, and claimed to have had a NDE vision of a land of ancestors, and being instructed by God to establish a new movement which would reunite the dead and the living. The mythology took on an increasingly apocalyptic tone as it developed with visions of earthquake, fire and flood, which would sweep the white soldiers away. (37)

Other modern near-death experiencers have apocalyptic visions. Ring presents a number which have similar features; many will perish in earthquakes, fire and flood; there will be nuclear catastrophe or economic collapse, but a saved remnant will be able to rebuild a new world of peace and hope. These people are “educated” and prepared for this new world. (38) Folk images such as the sinking of California and the pole shift occur frequently. As with Brinkley, many of these images reflect the visionary’s own political views, and we should note the symbolism of the polar shift, a crude literalisation and secularisation of “the world turned upside down”, when the rich and powerful will be thrown down and the poor and oppressed exalted.

Similar apocalyptic visions are produced by the techniques of post-life progression as pioneered by Helen Wambach and Chet Snow, (39) who again produce vistas of catastrophe, including a Soviet attack on western Europe while the USA is preoccupied with the little matter of the sinking of California (all this in 1998). As we are creasing ourselves with laughter at this little gem, the laughter freezes on our lips, for what Snow next calmly says: in the future there will be only two types of humanity, the garbage and the garbage men. Suddenly the toothy grin of the New Age guru widens to a vast chasm leading straight to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Snow drags in UFO abductions, and abductees now bring their own apocalypticism. Mack’s subjects turn up images of ecological catastrophe, earthquake and flood. Amongst the billions who will die, a few will escape in a UFO-arranged Rapture (Mack, pp 40-41). This apocalypticism mingles readily with a sense of mission. Thus “Ed” has a “great agenda connected with ecological catastrophe and the weeping of the spirits”. “Scott” has visions of being an alien messenger from a wasteland world, saying “they” will only feel safe to land when AIDS has wiped out most of humanity. “Joe” believes a hybridisation programme is creating a new humanity to repopulate a post-catastrophe world. “Peter” has “vivid, disturbing apocalyptic images” of earth changes and the sinking of the US West Coast, followed by the millennial golden age. Elsewhere, Donna says she is a mouthpiece for the aliens in the End Times (Randles).

The images of the abductees are more than echoed by the imagery of the post-secular ufologists. Randles, Ring and Mack all include dramatic apocalyptic imagery. Randles takes a classic post-millennialist stance that the millennium is coming into being in history, through a process of amelioration and reform:

We are gradually being turned into star children… cosmic citizens, Omega people… This experience exists despite us and because of us… bathing every thinking person in the heady scent of true reality. For the world is a stranger place than we can possibly imagine and the universe is infinitely stranger. That is what we are being taught by all of this. We are climbing a stairway to the stars with a dazzling light far ahead of us at the top. We do not know where we are going or why we have to go there, but we know it is as inevitable a journey as life itself… we will all get there in the end. And when we do arrive, I suspect we might well find that our joy is short-lived. For we are only on the first floor of a very tall building. (Randles, pp 205-6)

Ring has a basically post-millennial, but much more dramatically apocalyptic vision:

What we see with imaginal vision is a representation of our future environment (by which I) am not talking about some purported after-death world. I mean that it will become our environmental setting before death. Indeed the world of the dead and the world of the living are ones between which there may eventually be no longer a sharp distinction. Veils will be lifted from the face of the non-physical, and we ourselves will become diaphanous beings, with bodies of light. …the shamanizing of humankind… a major shift in levels of consciousness that will eventually lead to humanity being able to live in two worlds at once – the physical and the imaginal.

We shall have a new consensus world, but it won’t have anything to do with “the senses” (rather) an expanded ability on the part of human beings for imaginal vision. And what that would mean is no less than this: Humanity would be led back to its true home in the realm of the imagination where it would be liberated to live in mythic time and no longer be incarcerated in the doomed prison of historical time… (less) a new heaven as an imaginal earth. (Ring, pp 239-240)

Mack bemoaning “mindless corporate acquisitiveness that perpetuates vast differences between rich and poor and contributes to hunger and disease, ethnic-national violence resulting in mass killings, and ecological destruction” sees abductions leading us back to “our spiritual cosmic roots” and returning us to the divine light or “Home”, a place where secrets, jealousy, greed and destruction have no purpose (Mack, pp3-4, 415-16)

The apocalypticism is quite explicit in Ring’s title “The Omega Project”. Omega is Teilhard de Chardin’s name for the End Time – when the perfected human collective will merge with Cosmic Christ. The Omega Point was the ultimate expression of the “noosphere” within which human culture would totally dominate the earth. For Teilhard de Chardin the mass movements of the inter-war years, Fascism and Stalinism, were, for all their “imperfections” (sic!) superior to liberal, individualist society. He shared little of the concerns of the modern New Agers, having no interest in space travel, and no great love for the concerns of modern ecologists. His future was that of H.G. Wells. It is not surprising therefore that despite surrounding his work with an effective moat of incomprehensible and barbarous neologisms he ran foul of the Catholic Church authorities. (40)

Though for most people knowledge of Teilhard’s ideas probably derives from the popularisation in Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End (41) his ideas have clearly caught on as a paradigm of the heady amalgamation of escalator evolution and traditional apocalypticism. The most extreme use of the Omega hypothesis is in Barrow and Tipler’s The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, where, at the end of a massive tome filled with formidable physics and even more formidable mathematics, we find:

At the instant the Omega point is reached life will have gained control of all matter and forces, not only in a single universe, but in all universes where existence is logically possible; life will have spread into all spatial regions in all universes which could possibly exist and will have stored an infinite amount of information, including all bits of knowledge which it is logically possible to know. And this is the end. (42)

Ring, with his constant reference to evolution, and Randles, with her vision of a “stairway to the stars” are expressing what the philosopher Mary Midgeley has described as the Panglossian escalator. (43) This is an idea which originated with Lamarck, that evolution is a sort of cosmic elevator with a purpose. That purpose being the production of human beings, usually white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant males, and then to continue onwards to exalt them to supernatural heights. Indeed it is difficult to resist the notion that Randles’s vision might have been inspired by the cover of the paperback version of Midgeley’s book.

The point Midgeley is actually making is that these ideas, which have no basis in Darwinian biology. have become central in Western culture, probably – though she does not herself draw this inference – because they represent the “biologisation” of early post-millennial doctrines, which became enshrined in 18th-century notions of enlightenment. What separates Ring and Randles from the mainstream is their radically foreshortened timescale for this pseudo-evolutionary process and incorporation of more overtly supernatural elements. Their consummation of history is not in some vast, cosmic future, but in the next decade or next year.

It is this foreshortened timescale which leads to the idea that some particular Omega people are the vanguard of evolution, transforming human consciousness through their own altered states. This is quite simply nonsense; there is no reason to believe that twentieth-century Californians, say, are any more evolved than the artists of Lascaux, to say nothing of the builders of Stonehenge, or Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The visionary experiences discussed by Ring, though the cultural content changes, occur in all times and places. They may have played a role in the emergence of full human consciousness 50 or 60,000 years ago, but human consciousness in a biological sense has not changed since.

I arranged the quotations from Randles, Ring and Mack in order to demonstrate the progression from Randles’s post-millennialism to Mack’s much more dramatic pre-millennialsim. Ring stands between them; his Omega contains not only elements of “evolutionary” millennialism, but images of a more profound apocalypse: the “imaginal” or spiritual Earth with its vocabulary of the parting of the veil between the living and the dead which is redolent of Victorian Spiritualism. The bodily assumption of the living into the “imaginal” realm is a barely secularised version of the Rapture of the saints.

The appearance of these apocalyptic themes in the fantasies of a wide range of people should not surprise us because this occurs in a culture permeated by apocalyptic imagery. Few works can have had such an impact on Western culture as the Revelations of John. Norman Cohn, who had previously chronicled the power of apocalyptic movements in medieval and early modern Europe (45) has now sought to track down its origins in Zoroastrian dualism, taking the archetypal combat myth by which the tribal chief subdues the monster of chaos and carves habitat out of the wilderness in the time before time, and transforms it into a once and for all defeat of evil and disorder in a time to come. It is the apocalypse which transforms Time’s Cycle into Time’s Arrow – to quote Stephen J. Gould.

Not only does apocalyptic imagery pervade our culture, there has been an astonishing rise in literal apocalypticism in the last twenty-five years. A generation ago belief in “the end of the world” was looked upon as an historical curiosity, (46) today End Times beliefs are stronger than ever.

The rise of apocalyptic belief in contemporary America is chronicled by Paul Boyer who demonstrates the links between Christian fundamentalism, radical right politics and conspiracy theories. All the themes in Brinkley’s End Times vision referred to at the beginning of this section are derived from contemporary fundamentalist writings. Boyer demonstrates how the image of the apocalypse permits the articulation of a powerful critique of capitalism which allows the expression of discontent by the disadvantaged, whilst by proposing fundamental change in a supernatural realm preaches a gospel of helplessness and opposition to all reform.

It seems probable that there are several direct inputs of the Christian fundamentalist apocalypticism described by Boyer into the “New Age”. Remember those NDEs who claimed the world was going to end in 1988? It seems likely that their inspiration was a best-selling book by fundamentalist Edger Whisenart called “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988″ (Boyer, p. 130) At the same time it seems highly likely that ideas of abductees being beamed out of houses through solid matter derives from pop iconography of the Rapture.

What the material reviewed here has demonstrated is that apocalyptic imagination extends far beyond the mainstream of Christian fundamentalism discussed by Boyer. Barry Brummelt has extended the range of his study of apocalyptic religion beyond the confines of fundamentalism, for example citing Fukuyama’s “End of History” as an example of post-millennialism, but even he ignores the development of such ideas in the New Age movement. Indeed, it seems that the whole New Age field has been excluded from academic debate.

The apocalypse offers simple solutions. It is the catastrophe which will sweep away the oppressors, iron out the complexities, turn the world upside down. The seventies, the decade which saw religious fundamentalism come in from the outermost fringes, was also the decade of the catastrophe film, each disaster being a small apocalypse. Beyond the apocalypse lies communitas, the world of sacred sharing and total community, (examples which come to mind are the Woodstock Festival, the moment the Berlin Wall came down, or the “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia) which is close to Teilhard de Chardin’s vision of Omega. But any attempt to impose communitas will end in tragedy. (47)

Post-secular ufology appears to part of a widening revolt against the dream of the secular city, predicted by Jerome Clark: “The collective unconscious, too long repressed, will break free, overwhelm the world and usher in a world of madness, superstition and terror… war, anarchy and fascism.” (48)

It is impossible to read those lines today without thinking of Iran and Bosnia, Somalia, the wreckage of the Soviet Union, the rise of the religious right in the US and of nationalism and xenophobia across Europe. And beyond those gross examples we can see many more: the rise in witchcraft accusations, the communitas of the football hooligan, the rise of the passionate violence of the righteous elect (anti-abortionists in the US, animal rights movements in Britain).

One does not have to subscribe to any sort of Jungianism to appreciate Clark’s vision. We could rephrase it to something like “the one-sided economism which only values human beings as consumers and producers will lead to a reaction in which the needs of humans to belong and find meaning in their lives will take extreme forms”.
The abduction myth, with its themes of manipulation, the intermingling of rape and Rapture, the evocation of the naked helplessness of the operating table and loss of autonomy, seems to articulate many of these fears. But whether any of the post-secularist UFO myths can in any way seriously replace the old myths of flag and altar seems doubtful. There are interesting times ahead: we shall be on the watch.


REFERENCES:

1. Interview with Jenny Cockrell in Fortean Times, 72, pp 36-39
2. Garrett, Eileen. “Advances in the Supernatural“, Paperback Library, 1968
3. Rogo, D. Scott. “The Infinite Boundary“, Aquarian, 1988, pp 117-155,
211-215. See also Prince, Walet F. The Psychic in the House, Boston SPR, 1926 4. Sherrill Mulhern, quoted in Hicks, Robert D. In Pursuit of Satan, Prometheus, 1991
5. Hicks, op. cit. quoting in part paper by Braun and Bennett (eds) “Treatment of MPD”, American psychiatric Press, 1981
6. Feldman, Marc D. and Ford, Charles V. Patient or Pretender, Wiley, 1994, p. 212
7. Ibid., p. 210
8. Ibid., p. 16
9. Wood Robert. The Widow of Borley, Duckworth, 1992
10. Fodor, Nandor. ‘The Bell Witch, in The Story of the Poltergeist Down the Centuries (with Hereward Carrington), Rider, 1953, pp 137-165
11. Fodor, Nandor. On the Trail of the Poltergeist, Citadel, 1958
12. Price Harry. Leaves from a Psychic’s Casebook, Gollancz, 1933, chapters 13 and 14. See also Tabori, Paul. “Companions of the Unseen”, Humphrey, 1968, chapter 7
15. Hopkins, Budd. Intruders, Random House, 1987
16. Feldman and Fort, op. cit., p. 172
17. Schnabel, Jim. “The Munch Bunch”, Fortean Times, 70, pp 23-29
18. Bartholemew, Robert E. “Munch Bunch Revisited”, Fortean Times, 73
19. Fodor, Nandor. Tradition…, op. cit., p. 194
20. Rogerson, Peter. “Taken to the Limits”, Magonia, 23, pp 3-12
21. Sheridan, Geraldine and Kenning, Thomas. Survivors, Pan, 1993
23. Hufford, David. The Terror that comes in the Night, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982
24. Garrett, op. cit., p. 18
25. Garrett, op. cit., pp 25-26
26. For synaesthesia see Richard, E. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Abacus, 1994.
27. Eliade, Mircea. Images and Shamans, Harvill, 1961, pp 16-18
29. Rogerson, Peter. “Children of Another God”, Magonia, 20, pp 11-14
30. Steiger, Brad. “Gods of Aquarius”, W.H. Allen, 1977, chapter 7
31. Le Poer Trench, Brinsley. “Men Among Mankind”, Spearman, 1962
32. Williamson, George Hunt. “Other Tongues, Other Flesh”, Amherst Press, 1953, chapter 2
33. Menger, Howard. “From Outer Space to You”, Saucerian Books, 1959, quoted in Flammonde, Paris. “The Age of the Flying Saucer”, Hawthorne Books, 1971, pp 99-100
34. Berger, Arthur and Joyce. “Encyclopaedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research”, Paragon House, 1991
36. Kalweit, Edgar. “Shamans, Healers and Medicine Men”, Shambhalla, 1992, chapter 4
37. Wilson, Bryan. “Magic and the Millennium”, Paladin, 1975, pp 292-298
38. Ring, Kenneth. “Heading Toward Omega”, Morrow, 1985, chapter 8
39. Snow, Chet B. “Mass Dreams of the Future”, McGraw-Hill, 1989, as quoted in Baker, Robert. “Hidden Memories”, Prometheus, 1992, pp. 164-167.
40. Teilhard de Chardin. The Phenomenon of Man, Collins, 1959. cf. the entry for him in Gurley, Rosemary. Harper Encyclopaedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, Harper, 1991, pp 604-606
41. Clarke, Arthur C. Childhood’s End
42. Barrow, John D. and Tipler, Frank J. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford University Press, 1988, pp 676-7
43. Midgeley, Mary. Evolution as a Religion, Methuen, 1985
45. Cohn, Norman. The Pursuit of the Millennium, Pimlico, 1993 (Secker and Warburg, 1957)
46. See, for example, Hunter, Anthony. The Last Days, Blond, 1958
47. For a discussion of liminality, communitas, etc., see Rogerson, Peter. “Taken to the Limits”, Magonia, 23
48. Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. The Unidentified, Warner, 1975, p. 241

BOOKS REVIEWED AND REFERRED TO IN TEXT:

BOYER, Paul. “When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy belief in modern American culture”, Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 1992
BOYLAN, Richard J. “Close Extraterrestrial Encounters: Positive experiences with mysterious visitors”, Wild Flower Press, 1994
BRINKLEY, Dannian and PERRY, Paul. “Saved by the Light”, Piatkus, 1994
BRUMMETT, Barry. “Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric”, Praeger, 1991
BUDDEN, Albert. “Allergies and Aliens, the visitation experience: an environmental health issue”, Discovery Times Press, 1994
COCKRELL, Jenny. Yesterday’s Children: The extraordinary search for my past life family”, Piatkus, 1993
COHN, Norman. “Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The ancient roots of apocalyptic faith”, Yale University Press, 1993
DAVIES, Nick. “Murder on Ward Four: The story of Bev Allitt”, Chatto and Windus, 1993
HARPUR, Patrick. “Daimonic Reality: A field guide to the other world”, Viking Arkana, 1994
MACK, John E. “Abduction: Human encounters with aliens”, Simon & Schuster, 1994
RANDLES, Jenny. “Star Children”, Robert Hale, 1994
RING, Kenneth. “The Omega Project: Near death experiences, UFO encounters and mind at large”, William Morrow, 1992
SCHNABEL, Jim. “Dark White: Alien abductions and the UFO obsession”, Hamish Hamilton, 1994
SPENCER, John. “Gifts of the Gods: Are UFOs alien visitors or psychic phenomena?”, Virgin, 1994
SPENCER, John and SPENCER, Ann. “Spirit Within Her: The story of Heather Woods and the stigmata”, Boxtree, 1994

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