Friday, December 29, 2006


I have to make this very short and sweet, since I really need to be doing a lot of other things at the moment. But I wanted to get this out there.

One of my Christmas-Solstice-Festivus books arrived today; Colin Bennett’s book about George Adamski: Looking for Orthon; the story of George Adamski, the first flying saucer contactee, and HOW he CHANGED the WORLD.

Bennett, for those who don’t know,(and really, you all should) writes very, very well on Forteana. Not just the fun, juicy Fortean stuff like rains of frogs and flying saucers that look like your great grandmother’s chandeliers, but Forteana itself. The phenomena/non as a phenomena/non.

(I’ve commented before that it seems to me, in some ways, that Bennett isn’t appreciated enough. Maybe that’s just me. For example, his article in the December issue of UFO Magazine. Where was everyone on that?)

I’m not far into this book; just got past the introduction so far. Bennett said this in regards to why we shouldn’t dismiss Adamski as a kook, and be done with it. No, no no. There’s more to it than that simplistic, dichotomous response:

We need him [Adamski] if only because his views are quite wonderfully absurd.

When I read that, I realized, in one of those ‘click’ moments, why it is I still hold an affection for the Contactees of the 1950s and ‘60s, why I still kind of, sort of, like the Raelians (even while, not) why the Pamela Stonebrookes and all the others that are obviously goofy appeal to me. Even while acknowledging they are probably, a good many of them, hucksters, what about the ones who aren’t? Like the ones who merge UFOs, aliens, Jesus, and angels all together? Or the woman who told me a story so many years ago now of a woman living in a rural part of Oregon, and the aliens took her baby -- and left a “lobster baby” in its place. Those who are sincere and honest when they tell us the dippy, crazy, out there stories.

Yes,sure, a lot of them might be mad, suffering from depression, etc. but that’s not the point. It is on the mundane level, and if they need help they need to get it; but still. Still there is the fact of them, and within their experiences, which have become our experiences, having witnessed them, there is more. There are reminders and messages, symbols and events. A tweaking, teasing tugging at our reality. We can choose to brush it off as mere rantings or silliness. Or go the other way and ignore all caution while diving headfirst as “’bleevers.” But there’s another option. To appreciate it and value it, even to, if nothing else, acknowledge it.

And Colin Bennett put it very simply: we do need the Adamskis of the world, for a lot of reasons, and being “wonderfully absurd” is one of them.

I don’t know if Bennett uses the phrase “Trickster” but that is another reason for this affection towards the seemingly ridiculous. Well, they are ridiculous, but that’s not the end of the story. If one believes, as I do, that UFOlogy also is chock full of Tricksterism, Bennett’s comment makes sense.

What many within UFO studies forget, or, don’t acknowledge in the first place, is this inherent force within UFOlogy.

It reminds me of something I read some months ago (it might have been Bennett who said it, or someone else altogether, I don’t know. If anyone does let me know) and that is, in commenting about Fortean Times taking away the Forteana and becoming skeptics, including towards UFOs, they said something like:

Putting the Fortean back into UFOlogy, or, maybe it was putting UFOlogy back into Forteana. Okay, that made better sense the way I remember it. If anyone knows what I mean let me know. :) (I’m a Pisces, just go with it.)

I have more good books on the way; it’s going to be a fun New Year!


Mac said...

I'm a Bennett fan. "Looking for Orthon" is fantastic; his critical biography of Fort, "Politics of the Imagination," is also a must.

(I still haven't read his Ruppelt biography, "An American Demonology.")

R. Lee said...

I haven't read Politics of the Imagination (which I can't wait to get to) but I recently read An American Demonology, which I enjoyed.

R. Lee said...

From Daniel Brenton, who still is unable to post on blogger:

Regan --

You're right -- the Contactee / Experiencer crowd are part of the
phenomenon and the damned thing about it is that some of them may be
genuine. I located Truman Bethurum's book "Aboard a Flying Saucer"
some years ago and read it (it's really a dreadful book -- he said he
got a ghost writer to help him, and I think he wasted his money). J.
Allen Hynek felt Bethurum was sincere about his experiences, and yet
they make no sense. For those unfamiliar with Bethurum, his "contact"
involved multiple contacts with a short, attractive female "captain" of
a flying saucer, that told him her home world, "Clarion." was "behind
the Moon." This point is misquoted by some as "behind the Sun," which
is understandable in that this seems more plausible.

It isn't. actually. In terms of Lagrangian celestial mechanics (oh,
he's going to get technical now) there is a "libration point" 30,000
miles past the Moon in a straight line from the Earth where because of
a combination of gravitational influences of the Earth and the Moon and
the velocity required to keep an orbit balanced out, an object could be
placed there for an extended period. Unfortunately, an object the size
of what would be considered a habitable planet would easily be seen,
and if nothing else it's influence in this kind of orbital relationship
would have been deduced mathematically centuries ago. This "libration
point" is however relatively unstable, and anything in it would
eventually drift out of it, anyway.

Similarily, there is a libration point in the Earth / Sun relationship
directly on the other side of the Sun from the Earth, but anything
placed in that would eventually drift away from it also.

There is a good "thumbnail" summary of Bethurum on Wikipedia:

So here we have someone who apparently had an experience considered
sincere by a respected authority, and an experience which is
nonsensical. A lot of abduction experiences seem nonsensical also.
Unfortunately, this is a "hang-up" for a lot of rationally-thinking
people because they aren't willing to take something like this at face
value because it makes no sense. This, actually, is the point -- these
actual events don't make sense.

(I'm sure I'll be writing about this as well soon ... )

-- Daniel

The Meaning of Existence (and all that): The Odd Little Universe of
Daniel Brenton