The modern UFO craze began in 1947 when private pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine mysterious, saucer-shaped objects flying past Mt. Rainier, Washington at unprecedented speeds. That summer, UFO hysteria swept the United States. In the latter half of the twentieth century, the idea of alien visitation became a staple of popular culture. Tens of thousands of people reported seeing strange objects in the sky or being abducted by small creatures with the ability to communicate telepathically and walk through walls. The pervasiveness of these reports even led Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to write one of his most famous essays: “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies.”
But how modern are they? Jacques Vallee, an astrophysicist (and real-life inspiration for the French scientist played by Francois Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) collected pre-modern stories of encounters with “faeries.” The parallels he uncovered between these old reports and modern accounts of alien contact led him to a surprising conclusion. Is Vallee correct, though? Are these creatures extra-terrestrials or ultra-terrestrials? Or is it all just folklore, what Carl Sagan called “a shared delusion based on common brain wiring and chemistry”? Ultimately all we can do is speculate until someone comes forward with the truth.
10. “The Little People”
In The Secret Commonwealth of Fairies(1692), Reverend Robert Kirk provides a description of diminutive beings with “light, changeable bodies . . . somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud, and best seen at twilight.” Because in his day these little creatures were notorious for harassing travelers along highways, people would go out of their way to avoid making trips during certain times of the year.
The small stature of the mysterious beings has remained a constant of contemporary alien sightings. In the famous Lonnie Zamora incident of 1964, the New Mexican policeman reported seeing two “small adults” dressed in white who jumped on being sighted and disappeared into a large, egg-shaped object. During the wave of UFO sightings that gripped southern France in the spring of 1954, numerous people reported being accosted by “dwarves” in aluminum suits.
9. Flying Chariots
In his book The Demon-Haunted World, cosmologist Carl Sagan noted that stories of alien encounters share some striking similarities with earlier accounts of demonic harassment. There is, he said, one significant difference: unlike demons, aliens fly in gigantic metal contraptions, as though advances in human technology have somehow influenced the technology of non-human species.
Yet a closer look at the old stories reveals a disturbing pattern. Testimonials of faerie encounters frequently include mention of “burning chariots” that whisk people away to mysterious places. A ninth-century archbishop named Agobard skeptically reported that the people of Lyons where he lived believed in the existence of a land called “Magonia” where ships sailed in the sky. The poet Wolfgang von Goethe, in his autobiography, describes encountering a bright hovering object, “like a pandemonium of will-o’-the-wisps,” as he was traveling to Leipzig in 1768.
8. Inter-species Breeding
“Women are yet alive who tell they were taken away when in child-bed to nurse Fairie children,” noted Reverend Kirk. “When the child is wained [weaned], the Nurse dies, or is conveyed back.” Whatever name they go by, these creatures have always been portrayed as obsessed with human sexuality and reproduction. Just as Faeries in olden days kidnapped infants out of the cradle and bore them away to the Other Realm, much of today’s alien folklore involves extra-terrestrial visitors engaged in massive breeding experiments on human subjects.
On October 15, 1957 at around 10:00pm, Brazilian Antonio Villas-Boas was plowing in his field when he was forcibly seized by four men and carried into an egg-like object like a red star. He was stripped naked and left in a room alone. Soon, to his surprise, another human joined him—a blonde woman with blue eyes who was equally naked. The woman immediately began making clear to him the reason for his abduction. Once the relationship was consummated, Mr. Villas-Boas was unceremoniously returned home.
7. Missing Time
One striking feature of the Villas-Boas encounter deserves mention: as the man was being escorted away from his liaison he noticed a clock in one of the ship’s rooms. It was a box with a glass top and one hand. However, though four hours passed while he was on board the ship, the clock’s hand never moved.
Time does seem to flow differently in stories of human abduction. When Betty and Barney Hill saw a strange craft hovering over their car on a trip through New Hampshire in 1961, they suddenly found themselves thirty-five miles away. Several hours had elapsed in the space of a moment.
Often people who were carried away to the Faerie realm for a day or two were surprised, on returning, to discover that an entire year had passed in their absence. Two servants named Rhys and Llewellyn were traveling through Wales one night in the early nineteenth century when Rhys heard music. He insisted on pausing to listen, but Llewellyn hurried home. The next day he returned and found Rhys dancing in a fairy circle. When rescued, he was amazed to discover that an entire day had gone by.
6. Long-term Physical and Spiritual Effects
Though Faeries are often malevolent, even frightening, they are also known for giving gifts to those few humans who have the “good fortune” of meeting them. Sometimes these gifts are hilariously mundane—a couple of pancakes—while others may include financial prosperity or even supernatural powers like prophecy and healing. One of the legends that sprung up around Robert Kirk after he died walking over a Faerie mound in 1692 was that the Good People had gifted him with the ability to cure diseases.
Yet not everyone is so fortunate. The old stories tell of people being afflicted with madness, warts, blindness, and debilitating skin problems after meeting Faeries. In the aftermath of the Hill abduction, Barney Hill discovered a near-perfect circle of warts on his body. The victims of the Piney Woods sighting of December, 1980 suffered for years from the effects of radiation poisoning.
Whether entering a person’s room at night or stopping them on the highway, aliens are said to cause paralysis in their victims. In October 1954 an Italian man was accosted by a small being wearing a bright suit who aimed a flashlight at him and rendered him completely motionless. The strange figure then rose from the ground and flew away. In earlier days the “fairy stroke” was a common method Faeries used to immobilize those who encountered them.
4. Faerie Food
The classic study on Faerie customs, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, tells a story of a woman living in Brittany who visited the wee folk to complain about a neighbor eating her buckwheat. When she returned home she discovered that they had gifted her with a never-ending supply of the stuff—buckwheat being a staple of the Faerie diet.
In April 1961 Joe Simonton asked the U. S. Department of Health to investigate three pancakes that he claimed had been cooked aboard a UFO. He had been working in his yard one morning when he saw three small men step out of a flying machine. Simonton offered the men some water and in exchange they gave him the pancakes. Air Force analysis of the objects revealed that they contained no salt—according to the Irish, the Faeries “never taste anything salt,” and only drink “pure water.” Interestingly, one of the main ingredients used in preparing the pancakes was buckwheat.
3. Faerie Rings and Saucer Nests
Those who dismiss old Faerie tales as mere legends should bear in mind that the other race often left physical evidence of its revels in the form of “fairy circles” in woods and fields. In the Zamora incident of 1961, the Air Force was perplexed by a circular patch of debris on the ground where the shrubbery had clearly been set on fire and the sand fused together. In November 1968, a group of reporters in Argentina, investigating the sight of a supposed flying saucer, found a circular imprint six yards in diameter where the earth had calcined and white mushrooms were growing.
2. Theft of Plants and Animals
The UFO love affair with cattle is well known. Less well known is their affinity for stealing plants, debris, and domesticated animals. In one striking example, on November 6, 1957, twelve-year-old Everett Clerk found two men and two women carrying all the neighborhood dogs into a strange craft. A few hours later and a few hundred miles away, in Everittstown, New Jersey, John Trasco met a small creature with “frog-like eyes” who told him, “We are peaceful people, we only want your dog.”
In this as in so much else the aliens are merely carrying on a precedent established by Faeries, who were known for stealing both deer and cattle.
1. Strange Behavior
The one constant in all stories about Faeries through the centuries is their outrageous and sometimes disorienting behavior. They are not like humans. Their chameleon-like bodies can fly through the air; they can appear and disappear at will by using magical batons; they speak in a strange and sometimes incomprehensible version of English (or whatever the local dialect is). So today when a construction worker in southern France wanders from his work site and meets a group of dwarves in the forest—when he and seven others are paralyzed by a metal rod that the dwarves carry while a hovering ship lifts them over the trees and out of sight—it seems clear that we’re dealing with the same phenomenon, though one that has been given different names and expressions depending on the time and place.
Who are they and what is the reason for their strange behavior? Perhaps we’ve been looking for answers among the stars when the truth, all along, has been much closer to home. Dr. Vallee put forward a theory known as the “inter-dimensional hypothesis,” in which the mysterious creatures that have plagued our race for eons are actually fellow travelers who exist in a dimension separate from ours. He suggests that their unsettling and irrational behavior is actually designed to destabilize us because they’re preparing the human race for the acceptance of a new myth. Faerie / alien encounters are staged spectacles that are shattering our old belief systems in advance of a projected shift in human consciousness.