The Paraphysical Hypothesis

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”—George Bernard Shaw


I touched on this idea in my original post “The Path Chooses You,” but it needs further elucidation for those not familiar with it. This won’t make me popular with some people, but I might as well get it out there now since it is the point of view from which I approach the whole UFO phenomenon. Besides, there’s nothing like shooting yourself in the foot right out of the gate to make that all-important good first impression. So…

It is well known that the scientific method consists of making up your mind about what something is or how it works in advance, gathering information that supports your preconceptions, and then ignoring all evidence to the contrary on the grounds that it is unreliable.

Okay, that’s satirical, but unfortunately it’s precisely the method used by most UFO investigators and organizations (and the UFO deniers as well, but that’s another subject). They have already decided that UFOs are physical crafts piloted by organisms from another planet, with good or evil intentions, and all evidence that does not support this belief is dismissed for any number of reasons. Witnesses deemed credible enough to be believed when they talk about seeing UFOs or flying simoneven being taken aboard them are considered to be confused or suffering from PTSD if they dare mention any paranormal aspects of their experience, such as poltergeist activity in their homes or out-of-body experiences following their encounter, or any other bizarre phenomena that generally fall under the heading of the supernatural. Thus, the paraphysical hypothesis is routinely dismissed. “Mainstream” ufologists have done such a good job of promoting the alien explanation that most people aren’t even aware that these other phenomena, and more, are commonly associated with UFOs.

For those not familiar with the paraphysical hypothesis, John Keel thought that the following statement that RAF Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard made during a lecture in 1969 summed it up nicely. Who am I to argue with John Keel?

That while it may be that some operators of UFO are normally the paraphysical denizens of a planet other than Earth, there is no logical need for this to be so. For, if the materiality of UFO is paraphysical (and consequently normally invisible), UFO could more plausibly be creations of an invisible world coincident with the space of our physical Earth planet than creations in the paraphysical realms of any other physical planet in the solar system… Given that real UFO are paraphysical, capable of reflecting light like ghosts; and given also that (according to many observers) they remain visible as they change position at ultrahigh speeds from one point to another, it follows that those that remain visible in transition do not dematerialize for that swift transition, and therefore, their mass must be of a diaphanous (very diffuse) nature, and their substance relatively etheric…The observed validity of this supports the paraphysical assertion and makes the likelihood of UFO being Earth-created greater than the likelihood of their creation on another planet…The astral world of illusion, which (on psychical evidence) is greatly inhabited by illusion-prone spirits, is well known for its multifarious imaginative activities and exhortations. Seemingly some of its denizens are eager to exemplify principalities and powers. Others pronounce upon morality, spirituality, Deity, etc. All of these astral exponents who invoke human consciousness may be sincere, but many of their theses may be framed to propagate some special phantasm, perhaps of an earlier incarnation, or to indulge an inveterate and continuing technological urge toward materialistic progress, or simply to astonish and disturb the gullible for the devil of it.¹

Well that’s a mouthful. You might want to read that again. Let me see if I can paraphrase.

In short, much of the time UFOs behave like physical crafts, but frequently they seem more like ghosts, and their “occupants” talk cross-eyed badger spit. They have claimed to be everything from Venusians to “God’s doctors” to representatives of some galactic confederation. This being the case, there is no reason to believe that they really come from another planet. It is more likely that they come from another reality which exists alongside our own. The possible nature of this other reality will be discussed extensively at a later date.

crop circleRobert Anton Wilson summed it up much more succinctly when he said that it seems we are being invaded by a cosmic version of the Marx Brothers. (Sorry for the outdated reference, youngsters. The Kids in the Hall is probably the most recent equivalent. What happened to surreal comedy?) On a more serious note, Wilson also said that he thinks that this intelligence is playing ontology games with us and that they don’t seem much different from some of the beings he made contact with using occult operations taken primarily from the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templii Orientis.² We will absolutely be discussing this at a later time.

In their paper Incommensurability, Orthodoxy and the Physics of High Strangeness: A 6-Layer Model for Anomalous Phenomena, astronomer and computer scientist Jacques Vallee and physicist Eric W. Davis, both former consulting members for the National Institute for Discovery Science, a paranormal research organization,  make a number of key assertions that support the paraphysical hypothesis.

1. Anthropocentric bias: The SETI program (comprised almost exclusively of skeptics and deniers, by the way) has almost exclusively used a radio/microwave oriented approach to locating extraterrestrial intelligence under the assumption that such civilizations would be using technologies much like the ones developed here on Earth. Similarly, the extraterrestrial intelligence hypothesis (ETH) favored by most UFO believers assumes that these objects must be ships from another world piloted by beings essentially like us because what else could they be? Both groups could be very wrong.

2. Incommensurability: Similar to anthropocentric bias, but more specific in that it proposes that different species’  methods of perceiving and making sense of what we laughingly call reality may be so different that meaningful interaction between us is currently very difficult at best. Vallee summed this up way back in 1974 in a conversation with R.A. Wilson when he said “They relate to space-time in ways for which we have, at present, no concepts…They cannot explain to us because we are not ready to understand.”³ Maybe.

3. The Physical and Physiological Layers: This takes into account that UFOs sometimes leave behind evidence of their physicality. For example, indentations and burn marks on the ground, causing electrical, magnetic and gravitational disturbances, etc. They may also cause physiological symptoms in witnesses such as burns, nausea, difficulty breathing and/or extreme heat or cold, among others.

4. The Anti-Physical Layer: The stuff that most ufologists prefer to ignore, such as objects appearing physical but passing through solid material, dividing  into two or more objects or multiple objects merging together, space dilation where the interior of the craft is much larger than should be possible given the exterior size, and many more.

5. The Psychic Layer: Paranormal occurrences such as the aforementioned poltergeist-like activity in the days following a sighting, perceived “communication without a direct sensory channel” (I’m guessing this means telepathy), and an object’s ability to move as if they can anticipate the witnesses’ thoughts (mind reading?). There are many others, including some that I am aware of that the authors do not mention, although I’m certain that they are aware of them as well.

Vallee goes into much more detail about these aspects of the phenomenon in his book Dimensions, which should be required reading for anyone who wants to claim that they know anything about UFOs.

So then we have to ask ourselves: If the purported aliens are just trying to fool us by making us think that they’re from another planet, why would they also throw in a bunch of paranormal stuff that would tend to convince the more astute students of ufology that this is not a viable explanation? Deceivers do not tip their hand by providing alternate possibilities for their lies…at least not the ones who are even moderately clever. The essences of a good lie are simplicity and consistency. So don’t say that you’re from a bunch of different planets. Don’t show up in a myriad of different ships. Don’t make a bunch of absurd claims that are clearly nonsense – often known to be scientifically impossible. Don’t display a lack of understanding about basic scientific principles. And, most of all, don’t throw in a bunch of paranormal phenomena, cryptids, and a ridiculous number of interactions and appearances that make an extraterrestrial hypothesis untenable. If I had their abilities, I could do a much better job of convincing the world that we were being visited by beings from another planet, and so, I expect, could they – if that’s what they really wanted. Or maybe they really aren’t that bright. It seems more likely that they’re trying to determine how bright we are and are probably being sorely disappointed in the process.Madonna with Giovannini

Another frequently “overlooked” aspect of the phenomenon by the extraterrestrial crowd is that sometimes multiple witnesses to the same event recall very different experiences. Sometimes only a few or even just one person experiences anything exceptional at all. Others may only hear a peculiar buzzing or become dizzy or disoriented while one has a full-blown close encounter. This is also the case in appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) who is usually only seen and heard by one, or sometimes a few people, usually young women. Like UFOs, BVMs also seem to have an affinity for appearing near water. In the Madonna closeupFatima appearance, only three children could see or hear her until her final appearance, in which case thousands of people were present. They didn’t see Mary, but apparently all of them witnessed a fiery disk (some thought it was the Sun) falling from the sky. It had been raining up until that point, but it stopped abruptly and everyone found themselves suddenly bone dry afterwards. Mary, by the way, has never actually claimed to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, in any case that I’m aware of. That part just seems to be taken for granted, at least in the Western world.

There have been multiple cases in which an abductee saw what they originally thought were a number of dead alien bodies. It was then either communicated to them or they somehow got the impression that these bodies were just the empty suits that these beings put on whenever they need to interact with physical reality. Of course these events, if they really happened as remembered, seem staged, like “Oops! We accidentally left the empty bodies out where people could see them.” When dealing with an intelligence that seems to calculate every move to manipulate belief, you can’t take anything at face value. On the other hand, this is consistent with a number of encounter cases where the abductee claims that at least some of what happened to them occurred in an out-of-body state. That is, their consciousness was somehow separated from their bodies during their experience, possibly for some higher level lesson on the nature of existence. In fact, if not for some of the physical traces left behind, such as scars and strange objects that have been removed from people’s bodies, I would tend to think that the whole abduction experience was a purely psychic rather than physical phenomenon. As it stands, it seems to be both.

Also, as Vallee and others have pointed out, there are hundreds of UFO sightings every year. Even if we arbitrarily dismiss “soft” sightings like strange lights in the sky and unexplained blips on radar that move at incredible speeds and focus only on “hard” sightings – seemingly solid objects seen by multiple witnesses, preferably at different locations – there are still dozens of “alien ships” seen annually, and that’s a very conservative estimate. What have we done to warrant this kind of attention? If only 10% of abductees can be considered credible, that still means that thousands of people have had this experience and remember it at least vaguely. Wouldn’t an alien race that is this fascinated by us be able to observe and examine us covertly? We have drugs that can temporarily block the formation of new memories so that nothing that occurs while under their influence can ever be recalled, not even under hypnosis, because the memories just aren’t there. One of these drugs is a common ingredient in sleeping pills. Are we to believe that the “alien’s” mind-erasing abilities are inferior to our own? And what about their stealth technology? Shouldn’t they be harder to spot? Flying around in highly reflective ships in daylight or ones covered in lights at night is a pretty lousy way to try to go unnoticed. Any data that they wanted to collect could have been collected years ago with far fewer samples and much less trauma and physical evidence left behind.

I would love to believe that we are being visited by people from another planet, as long as I knew for a fact that they were friendly. Knowing that someday soon we might be contacted by beings who could show us how to travel the galaxy would be amazing and unbelievably exciting, but that’s just not what the evidence points to. Then again, as a Jungian Discordian, I’m also willing to embrace the possibility that REAL reality and some of the denizens residing therein may be crazier than a Scientologist on bath salts. Trying to figure out who they are and what they’re really up to may turn out to be far more interesting than exploring space.

And if you won’t buy any of this from me, maybe you will from a guy who knows these beings better than most. The following is taken from Whitley Strieber’s introduction to Vallee’s previously mentioned book Dimensions.

Absent any genuine understanding of the phenomenon, one is forced to accept that it is what it appears to be…that is exactly what we should not be doing…I myself have faced physical beings. The context of my own experience, with extensive witness by others, makes it clear that the phenomenon can emerge as an entirely real, physical presence that is quite capable of manipulating its environment. The next moment, though, it can evaporate into thin air, leaving not a trace of what was a moment before an immense and overwhelming real presence.

I tried to think of something clever to say to end this piece, but that wraps it up better than anything I can come up with.


1. John Keel. Why UFOs? Operation Trojan Horse. New York: Manor, 1970, pp. 39-40.

2. Robert Anton Wilson. Cosmic Trigger: Volume I. New York? And/Or, 1977, pp. 9-14 and pretty much the whole book.

3. Ibid. p. 161. 

Saucer Girl







and all the devils are here


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