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Anomalies, Materialism, and the Liberating Death of Ufology

On November 4, The Telegraph reported that the field of ufology, at least as it’s viewed and practiced in Britain, may be dead or dying:

For decades, they have been scanning the skies for signs of alien activity. But having failed to establish any evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life, Britain’s UFO watchers are reaching the conclusion that the truth might not be out there after all. Enthusiasts admit that a continued failure to provide proof and a decline in the number of “flying saucer” sightings suggests that aliens do not exist after all and could mean the end of “Ufology” — the study of UFOs — within the next decade.

— Jasper Copping, “UFO enthusiasts admit the truth may not be out there after all,” The Telegraph, November 4, 2012

This assessment comes from several expert sources, including Britain’s well-regarded Association for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena, which has scheduled a meeting to discuss the issue:

Dozens of groups interested in the flying saucers and other unidentified craft have already closed because of lack of interest and next week one of the country’s foremost organisations involved in UFO research is holding a conference to discuss whether the subject has any future. Dave Wood, chairman of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (Assap), said the meeting had been called to address the crisis in the subject and see if UFOs were a thing of the past. “It is certainly a possibility that in ten years time, it will be a dead subject,” he added. “We look at these things on the balance of probabilities and this area of study has been ongoing for many decades. The lack of compelling evidence beyond the pure anecdotal suggests that on the balance of probabilities that nothing is out there. I think that any UFO researcher would tell you that 98 per cent of sightings that happen are very easily explainable. One of the conclusions to draw from that is that perhaps there isn’t anything there. The days of compelling eyewitness sightings seem to be over.” He said that far from leading to an increase in UFO sightings and research, the advent of the internet had coincided with a decline … The issue is to be debated at a summit at the University of Worcester on November 17 and the conclusions reported in the next edition of the association’s journal, Anomaly.

These developments are in turn linked to the recent closing of the UK’s official investigations into UFO phenomena:

The summit follows the emergence earlier this year of the news that the Ministry of Defence was no longer investigating UFO sightings after ruling there is “no evidence” they pose a threat to the UK. David Clark, a Sheffield Hallam University academic and the UFO adviser to the National Archives, said: “The subject is dead in that no one is seeing anything evidential.”

Obviously, this is all quite interesting. But more than that, it’s highly significant, and not just for people who are directly interested in UFOs. Despite the fact that the Telegraph article perpetuates the perennial rhetorical and philosophical foolishness of dividing the UFO-interested community into “believers” and “skeptics” (and also uses the word “enthusiasts” to maddening effect), it’s a very valuable piece of work, because it points to a deeply meaningful cultural moment for the study of anomalous phenomena, and also, more broadly, for our collective understanding of the relative meanings and statuses of anomalies, paranormal events, and material science. Read the rest of this entry

Halfway between Earth and Stars: A Meditation on Sacred Sites and Future Mysteries

At the very earliest appearance of human civilization we observe the presence and importance of geometry.  It is clearly evident that geometry was comprehended and utilized by the ancient Master Builders, who, laboring at the dawn of civilization some four and one half millennia ago, bestowed upon the world such masterworks as the megalithic structures of ancient Europe, the Pyramids and temples of Pharaonic Egypt and the stepped Ziggurats of Sumeria. That geometry continued to be employed throughout the centuries from those earliest times until times historically recent is also clearly evident. That it was made use of by cultures far-flung about the globe is evident as well, finding expression in China, Central and South America, in pre-Columbian North America amongst Native Americans, in Africa, SE Asia and Indonesia, Rome and of course in classical Greece and in Europe, from the Megalithic era some 4000 years ago, as stated, and again some 3000 years later, magnificently expressed during the Gothic era of cathedral building.

— Randall Carlson, “The Meaning of Sacred Geometry

Two of my favorite places to go in Georgia are the Marian apparition site in Conyers and the Georgia Guidestones in Elberton. What I didn’t realize until I had a wonderful conversation with Randall Carlson of Sacred Geometry International (based in Atlanta) is that both sites lie very close to one of the fault lines that diagonally traverses (SW to NE) the northern part of the state. In fact the Guidestones are just south of where the fault line exits the state at its northern border, and the Conyers apparition site sits south of the fault near the halfway point. Read the rest of this entry