Alien Identities; Hieronimus Interview
Thompson and radio show host Bob Hieronimus discuss the favorable response to Thompson’s book, Alien Identities (1993), for its honest appraisal of a sweeping array of contemporary and traditional accounts of ufology phenomena. Thompson proposes that the word “bizarre” is a relative cultural term, and then suggests that allowing intellectual inquiry to expand beyond the restrictions of material reductionism can help facilitate productive analyses of a plethora of incidents described throughout the centuries by a variety of civilizations.
TRANSCRIPT: Alien Identities; Hieronimus Interview: 21st Century Radio – September 17, 1995 / (321)
Bob Hieronimus: Our guest is Richard Thomson, author of Alien Identities: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena, Govardhana Hill Publishing. The number to call for Govardhana Hill is (904) 462-0466. Dr. Richard L. Thompson is the author of five books and four videos on science and philosophy. He received his PhD in mathematics from Cornell University. He brings two kinds of expertise to the field of UFO investigations. The first is 20 years of scientific research and publishing in fields ranging from mathematical biology to NASA-funded work in satellite remote sensing. The second is a long and deep acquaintance with the cosmological literature of ancient India's Vedic culture. Welcome to award winning 21st Century Radio and TV News. Richard...
Richard L. Thompson: Well thank you.
BH: Congratulations on a superb job on Alien Identities about which Clark C. McClelland, pioneer NASA aerospace engineer of the US Space Program at Kennedy Space Center, said: "Alien Identities will contribute a valuable insight into the possible origin of UFOs. Bravo! Alien Identities is the much searched for Rosetta Stone of UFO literature.” Now that's some claim. That's pretty darn good!
Before we get to the heart of your work, I wanted to start with the last chapter because there is so much prejudice against the Vedic teachings and the Hindus by uninformed Western researchers and media ignoramuses who consider Hindus a bunch of cow and rat worshipers. This religious and ethic bias accelerated when the British began to colonize India in the 18th century. Tell us how this bias developed and what was Oxford University's part in this deception.
RLT: Well, the bias in connection with the Vedic tradition or what is called Hinduism in India can be traced back to the time when William Jones, a pioneer Indologist, began to study the Vedic literature. These Vedic texts are, according to the tradition in India, over 5000 years old and they represent a very rich cultural tradition. However, William Jones and his colleagues basically had a Christian bias and they wanted to fit the chronology of the Vedic literature and the different stories and texts and so forth into the framework of Christianity, specifically the Mosaic account of creation. So therefore they had to do a very thorough job of discrediting the Vedic literature. That was the starting point.
There were also political concerns involved because, of course, Great Britain was taking over India politically, and so naturally they wanted to show that they had a superior culture. So there's a long history of the denigration of the Vedic tradition.
BH: Which, by the way, still continues on various stations that I'm broadcasting from. I hear it often. The Vedic teachings: What are they and when did they come into being?
RLT: Well, according to the tradition in India, these teachings have been existing within the universe from time immemorial. The basic orientation of the Indian culture, or what I'm calling Vedic culture, is similar to that of many cultures that you find around the world. The basic viewpoint was that human society and human civilization is deriving from a larger universal order of intelligent beings. The idea is that life did not simply begin on the earth, and in particular human civilization did not specifically begin on the earth.
So the Vedic tradition says that the basic knowledge which is being passed down in the different Sanskrit texts is coming originally from higher planetary systems. And this is a viewpoint which is related to the concept of creation. The idea is that the universe was originally created by Divine intelligence and there's a descending process in which knowledge is passed down through different societies of beings within the universe, and finally it reaches the human society of this earth. So according to that understanding this Vedic tradition goes back to time immemorial.
BH: So in fact, and we're not the top honcho or head honcho of the universe here, are we?
BH: No we're not. Excuse me but our friends at Hopkins are probably falling off their chair right now. Now Richard, you've done a splendid job of summarizing various aspects of UFO research in the chapter of “Science and the Unidentified.” You review traditional sciences’ bias against the UFO reality. William Markowitz concluded that, "Reported UFO objects could not be extraterrestrial spacecraft unless the laws of physics are wrong." Tell us who is William Markowitz?
RLT: Well he's a particular scientist who happened to write an article on the UFO... the question of UFO evidence. Basically he was taking the point of view that if UFOs exist, they must be engineered machines similar to the sort of machines that we could hope to build with either our own present technology or some reasonably small extension of that technology. So based on that approach, he performed an analysis and he showed that the UFOs would be impossible. However, the problem with this approach is that it not only assumes that the laws of physics as we know them are absolute and final, which is contrary to the... actually to the history of physics... Because if we look back over the few decades of the 20th century, we see that the laws of physics have undergone a number of revolutions, even in this century. But not only is he assuming that the laws of physics are strictly followed in the form in which we know them today, but he's even assuming that the technological applications that we know of today really represent the only basis for further unusual developments...
BH: In other words...
RLT: ...in other words, technology
BH: In other words, that the only way to get from A to B is through rocket power?
RLT: Well basically he was looking at UFOs as being powered by some kind of rocket. Essentially that's the idea.
BH: Okay well, Dr Carl Sagan, who refuses to debate the UFO question with knowledgeable UFO researchers like Dr David Jacobs, Budd Hopkins, Dr Stanley McDaniel – and we've attempted that a number of times; he just won't do it – also concludes that UFOs are not likely to be interstellar visitors. How does he come to this conclusion?
RLT: Well once again, he is looking at a model based on the accepted view of the universe and of the development of life within the universe. Of course, Carl Sagan has been a pioneer in the subject called exobiology, which is the study of extraterrestrial life. This is a study carried out simply by scientific speculation. The basic idea is that life requires certain conditions in which it might originate by strictly physical processes. One makes an estimate as to how many planets within the universe might exist with the appropriate conditions. And then one makes estimates concerning how long it would take for evolution to produce a civilization, and how often civilizations would send out expeditions to other planets. And the conclusion then is that it's not very likely that we would be visited. This is basically the idea that he was presenting, but of course this is based on many assumptions which are not necessarily correct.
BH: Why do you think this type of thinking is flawed?
RLT: Well, the basic lesson to be learned in looking at all this material is that the laws of nature as we know them do not represent the actual last word on the actual laws of nature. The... there's a great deal of evidence suggesting that, in fact, additional laws and principles are active which need to be explored. An important point here has to do with the nature of life. Carl Sagan and many other scientists following orthodox scientific views would regard life as a chemical process. Of course biochemists have discovered many different things about the functioning of living organisms. But there's a very large body of information which suggests that there's more to life than just chemistry.
For example, there's the entire domain of paranormal phenomena which needs to be taken into account. Unfortunately this entire area is disreputable in the orthodox fields of scientific research simply because it is so challenging to existing scientific views. However, if you do look into the question of the paranormal phenomena, you'll see that the... there's strong evidence indicating that the laws of nature are quite different from what we think they are. Of course, this is not to say that the different calculations that scientists use to predict phenomena in, say, a physics laboratory are not correct. They've been very much verified by so many different experiments. However one cannot extrapolate unlimitedly from a particular set of experiments to all of reality. And there is evidence that there are many laws of nature which we don't yet know about.
Now if you apply that specifically to the question of whether or not we could be visited by life forms that are unknown to present human science, then you find that there are, in fact, many possibilities. It's not necessarily the case that other life forms would have to originate by, let us say, an evolutionary process on another planet and then build a spaceship with rocket power or some similar propulsion device and then travel here in order for us to be visited by such beings. There are many other possibilities.
BH: We're going to touch on some of those possibilities later. Anti-UFO propagandists and debunkers argue that scientists don't believe in UFOs. What's the accuracy of that assessment?
RLT: Well the... As a blanket statement, of course, that wouldn't be correct. Of course one also has to be careful what one means by "believe in UFOs" because the question then comes: what exactly do you mean by a UFO? But assuming that we take care of that question, basically there are and have been many scientists who've taken the UFO phenomenon very seriously and they've given a great deal of attention to it. For example, J. Allen Hynek was an astronomer at North Western University. He's one example of a scientist who has seriously considered the UFO phenomenon. You mentioned that you're going to be inviting Jacques Vallee. He's also a computer scientist. So, many scientists as individuals have taken the UFO phenomenon very seriously.
BH: Could you briefly review the July '79 opinion poll that sixty... well I might as well just mention; 61% of the scientists reviewed... or excuse me, interviewed, responded "yes" that they did believe in UFOs, 28% said probably not – probably or definitely not – did not believe it. Now in your opinion, are scientists swayed by social pressure?
RLT: Well certainly, naturally scientists participate in what is called the ‘scientific community.’ Certainly social pressure has a very strong role to play. The point that I was about to make just a moment ago was that the... although many individual scientists have taken the UFO phenomenon very seriously, nonetheless, as a unified social group represented by various academic institutions and scientific institutions, science has basically shunned the UFO phenomenon as something that really shouldn't be discussed. It's not really an acceptable topic for investigation. So there is a great deal of social pressure involved in any attempt to investigate this phenomenon.
BH: Especially ridicule, which we'll touch again on later on.
RLT: Excuse me.
BH: Especially ridicule.
RLT: Oh yes
BH: And ...plays an.... As a matter of fact, when I hang out with some of my friends at Hopkins, you mention the topic of UFO – of course they haven't read any of the research, but they've all got their definite opinions and the first thing they say to you is 'little green men'.
RLT: Yeah right.
BH: I mean it goes on infinitely, and there... and these are brilliant... there not... these guys aren't too dumb. Now you know that France's... is it pronounced Japan? Japan?
RLT: I don't know how that's pronounced. GEPAN, the French study group?
BH: Let's say "Jepan!" Something like that... something like that. Well, they're a UFO study group and their conclusions are in sharp contrast to the conclusions of the United States Air force. Could you touch on that for us please?
RLT: Well they are... apparently this GEPAN... That... those letters stand for a French organization, a scientific organization for the study of ... let’s see... well unidentified flying objects. So they perform some very interesting studies. And they came to the conclusion that it seemed that some flying machine of unknown properties was involved in some of the cases that they studied. And they did bring to bare a great deal of scientific expertise on the studies that they performed. For example the 'Trans en Provence' case: They had a biochemist investigating damage to plants in the vicinity of an imprint that was made by a UFO that was observed by a local farmer. This local farmer saw the UFO land in his field. When it took off, it left a circular impression. And scientists studied the effect that it apparently had on the plants and observed quite an interesting series of biochemical changes occurring in the leaves of those plants. So it was a definite scientific study, and the conclusion was that certainly a very unusual phenomenon was involved there. So that's certainly been in contrast to the publicly admitted view that you find in the United States.
BH: Well, our publicly admitted view right now is we need to take a commercial break and award another library. And friends, if you think we want you to purchase this book, you're right, because we think it's enormously important. Our guest is Richard Thompson, author of Alien Identities: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena, Govardhana Hill Publishing. To order, call (904) 462-0466. That's (904) 462-0466 or you can write to Govardhana Hill, Post Office Box 1920 and I'll have to spell... I think it's Aloochea, nope! Alaka, Alachua... Alachua. A L A C H U A (it's a spelling bee time friends) in Florida, 32615. [break]
Now Richard, inside UFO research we have great diversity and considerable antagonism between what's possible and what's not. You suggest that it's wrong to object to bizarre testimony simply because it's bizarre. Why?
RLT: Well, in order to carry out a scientific investigation, you really have to consider all of the evidence. Of course, this term ‘bizarre’ is... it's a culturally conditioned term. What is bizarre to one person may not be bizarre to another. It depends on one's background and one's experience. Certainly a great deal of the testimony involving UFO phenomenon is bizarre from the point of view of our standard upbringing in, say, modern American culture. But just because it's bizarre from that limited cultural standpoint doesn't mean that there's not something important there. If we edit the evidence before coming to conclusions about it, simply on the basis of our cultural conditioning, then that will make it very difficult to arrive at a real scientific understanding of what's going on.
BH: Well, let's review... Next hour we're going to get into the Vedic teachings and how they're... how they're... how they parallel or corroborate UFO sightings here in the Western world. But review for us the well-corroborated close encounter of George O'Barski in the early hours of January 1975.
RLT: Well that's a case mentioned by Budd Hopkins in one of his books. That was an interesting case. O'Barski, as I recall, was an elderly man who had a liquor store in Manhattan but he didn't drink himself – he was very abstemious. He was driving home late one evening, around midnight I guess, and he said that he saw this craft, looking like a sort of circular room with windows, come down out of the sky. And then a ladder came down from it, and some little men in suits got down by the ladder and started taking samples of soil from the ground. So he was quite shocked by the experience. Interestingly enough there was corroboration. There was a nearby apartment building – I think it was called Stonehenge apartments as I recall – and some of the people involved there, in that apartment building, also observed something unusual at about the same time.
So that's why I refer to it as a well corroborated case. It's a case where you have multiple eyewitnesses who seem pretty likely to be unknown to one another; that is, there's every reason to think that this man O'Barski did not know, for example, the... I believe it was a watchmen who saw the craft from within the apartment complex. So... also there were a couple of other independent witnesses. One family apparently saw the UFO on it's way to the site going through a nearby residential neighborhood. So this is an example of multiple witnesses confirming a rather unusual event.
BH: The old digging up the soil trick.
RLT: Oh yes, the thing of UFO entities digging up soil, of course, has been reported since the early 1950’s. It's a very standard thing which is reported: a rather curious kind of behavior because you would think that...
BH: You got enough soil by now, huh?
RLT: Yeah, they should have enough soil if they're doing some scientific research.
BH: It just leads me to think that something else is going on there besides that. Now, photographs of UFOs are not conclusive proof of their existence but most debunkers like to say, “The best we have are but pinpoints of light that could be anything.” Photos and film are taken by military personnel, but the American public is not allowed to see. Review for us the testimony of Dr. Elmer Green regarding UFO photos and films taken on military bases by scientists and engineers.
RLT: Well, Dr. Green personally conveyed this information to me. He's a researcher at the Menninger Foundation. He does biomedical research. In the early 1950’s, though, he was a civilian engineer working for the army, for the military, at a number of military bases out in the southwest area, including White Sands and others. So he was specifically involved in what was called metric photography. This means taking photographs of missiles and drone airplanes and so on with cameras that are calibrated so that you can calculate the actual trajectory of the vehicle as it moves through the air. They were also involved in the testing of the V-2 rockets back in those days.
So he was involved with a large number of technical people who were engaged in this metric photography. He said that UFOs were very frequently reported. He gave me as an example a case where there was a V-2 rocket that was going to be tested. The movie cameras were set up to record the lift-off of the rocket, but before the rocket took off, two disk-like objects came down from the sky and went whirling around the rocket and then went up into the sky again. And then they had to delay the test because they ran out of film while filming these objects.
He also told me that on one occasion, he himself saw, in the company of another man, a military person, a UFO flying beneath a cargo plane that was coming in for a landing. He described the shape of the object. It was... As I recall, he said it was metallic in the front and in the back there was a semi-circular section that had the color of an amber artist's triangle. He said that this was flying along keeping pace with the plane underneath it about... at a distance of maybe 300 feet. But at a certain point, it flipped up to the wing of the plane so abruptly that it seemed almost instantaneous, and then again followed the plane for some distance and then accelerated off into the ... into the sky.
So he told me that there was a lot of film of these UFOs but it was all sent to... perhaps Washington or some other place, and it ceased to be available for local inspection.
BH: I sure would like to see it. I'm sure you'd like to see some of it too, but I don't think we're gonna get a chance at that. Maybe Phil Klass will get a chance to see it sometime Richard? I doubt that though.
BH: I really doubt that. Now the role of the government has been one of debunking. Review for us the CIA, the Robertson Panel, and their conclusions as to how UFOs should be reported to the American people.
RLT: Well, the Robertson Panel was convened by the CIA. I believe it was about 1953. The basic idea was to investigate the UFO phenomenon. Basically the meetings were not really suitable for performing such an investigation because, I believe, they met for only about 3 days, and they looked at a selected series of cases. So that's not really adequate to make a scientific investigation of the UFO phenomenon.
BH: Was that 12 hours or 6 hours total that they met?
RLT: I'd have to look.
BH: So when you say they met 3 days, it's not they they were working day and night. It sounds almost like they were working during their lunch break or something.
RLT: Well, they didn't meet for very long, basically. And they came to a conclusion that... basically they said, “We firmly believe there is no residuum of cases which indicates phenomena which are attributable to foreign artefacts capable of hostile acts; that there is no evidence that the phenomenon indicates the need for the revision of current scientific concepts.” But... and this is in... is relevant to what you were saying about the Brookings Institution earlier on. You said the panel concludes that, “The further emphasis on the recording of these phenomena does, in these perilous times, result in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic.”
So therefore they argued that debunking was required in order to ward off this threat. They said, “The debunking aim would result in a reduction of public interest in flying saucers, which today evokes a strong psychological reaction.” And then they outline how one would go about doing this debunking.
BH: And that brought the Air Force regulation 200-2 into existence, so we're not going to be hearing from Air Force pilots any more, as to what they're seeing. And they... They have some of the best sightings. Right, Richard?
BH: But we're not gonna hear about that. Friends, there's an awful lot to cover here. Richard, you've done a splendid job. You really have. We needed about 6 hours to cover this book. And obviously we're gonna be breezing through a lot of things. Lemme just ask since we've got about a minute or so left in this hour: UFO crash at Roswell – real or not? In your opinion.
RLT: Well, I must say I've seen a great deal of evidence that's been accumulated to indicate that something quite unusual happened there. I've merely reviewed some of the standard presentations. And I've reviewed some video tapes of eyewitness testimony about the unusual nature of both the... different kinds of metallic debris that were found...
BH: Let me ask you another quick question. Government disinformation on UFOs: Does it occur or not?
RLT: Government disinformation?
BH: On UFOs.
RLT: Well, I would suspect so.
BH: You suspect so? Have you... have you seen the alleged alien autopsy footage yet?
RLT: No, I haven't seen that. I'd be interested in seeing it.
BH: You will see it in the next week, I promise you. Well Richard, we're gonna take a break here. And by the way, one other thing I wanted to point out friends: In fact there are numerous cases in which the military has chased UFOs for decades. And of course, in some of the reports that we've seen, we're not told that, are we Richard?
RLT: Well, it's not so widely known.
BH: Nope. But this is the most important story of the century, Richard, and we're just going on reporting it. Well, we're gonna report some more of this next hour with Richard Thompson. The book is Alien Identities: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena. You've got to get a copy of this book for your homework this week. [break]
Now Richard, Victor Marchetti... Marchetti. Who is he and what did he speculate concerning a secret international understanding to keep the public ignorant on the reality of UFOs?
RLT: Well he was a person who was working for the CIA, and he's also known for a book that he wrote... a completely different book making various revelations concerning that organization. But basically he observed that there was a great deal of scuttlebutt, you might say, in government intelligence circles about UFOs and he came to some positive conclusions. Basically he said that his conclusion... tentative conclusion, was there are UFOs or there has been contact, if only signals from outer space. But the evidence reveals the aliens are interested only in observing us. But public knowledge of these facts could become a threat. "If the existence of UFOs were to be officially confirmed, a chain reaction could be initiated that would result in the collapse of the earth's present power structure."
So you see once again this basic thinking, that if people come to know about UFOs, then this could cause social difficulties. He says, "Thus a secret international understanding, a conspiracy, has been agreed to by the world powers to keep the public ignorant of and confused about contact or visitations from beyond the earth." That was his idea.
BH: Well, present evolutionary theory concludes that it is extremely unlikely that anything enough like us where real communication of thought exists anywhere in our accessible universe. How do scientists like Dr. Carl Sagan and prominent evolutionist Theodosius Dagnowski...?
BH: Dobzhansky. Sorry... come to this conclusion?
RLT: Well the... the argument is based simply on genetics and the theory of natural selection, the basic Darwinian theory of evolution. Dobzhansky made the point very clearly by saying, “Imagine you could go back, let’s say about 50 million years, to what's called the Eocene period of the earth's history and start the earth over again from that time period.” He said, “Well, what is the chance that evolution would again produce human beings like ourselves?” And he estimated, as I recall, that you'd have to have about 40,000 particular gene mutations occurring in the right order, in order to produce the human race, starting with the kinds of life forms that you had 50 million years ago. And these mutations would be selected under certain environmental conditions. So this would depend on the climate being exactly the same. Many different factors would have to work out just as they have in the actual history of the earth. So he concluded then that the chances that we would again come into being would be extremely small.
Now interestingly enough, this is at the same time an argument indicating that the chances are extremely small that we got here in the first place according to the evolutionary mechanisms that are proposed in the... what's called the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. But certainly the idea that it would happen twice is extremely... it's an extremely improbable phenomenon. So if you apply that to life on another planet and you limit yourself to the Darwinian mechanisms, then the probability of such life is exceedingly... that such life would be human-like in form... perhaps you could get life, but the chance that it would be anything like ourselves would be extremely small.
BH: Well another hypothesis suggests that humanoids have not evolved independently from humans in the Darwinian fashion. How would this explain that beings like us would exist in our accessible universe?
RLT: Well, if the humanoids that are reported in connection with the UFOs are very similar to us – and certainly that seems to be the basic picture – then one possibility is that they are related to us. So if we are descended from common ancestors, then that would account for the fact that we seem to be very similar. So this is a possibility that should be considered. Typically these beings are said not only to have basic human bodily form but also to exhibit recognizable human emotions. So they're certainly very similar to us. So the concept of a common ancestry or common descent is one way of explaining this.
BH: Sure. Now there is evidence that indicates UFO contacts are physical and psychical and that both the psychical phenomena and the UFO phenomena are reported to violate the known laws of physics. So human beings may also be something more than molecular machines. Now why does this pose such an important problem to traditional status quo science that is promulgated by our best American universities?
RLT: Well of course, science as we have it today has very solidly established theoretical views based on what is generally called physical reductionism. The basic idea is that life can be reduced to chemistry in the sense that a living being like you or me is simply a collection of molecules interacting chemically, forming bonds and so forth. Chemistry, in turn, is reduced to physics, and that means that the... the atoms and molecules are simply physical entities of a kind that physicists discuss in their theories, electrons and protons, quantum fields and so on and so forth. And that ultimately everything reduces down to some ultimate physical substrate that obeys some equations that you will find in the... the physics textbooks.
So this puts very great restraints on what phenomena one could expect to find in connection with life. In particular it very much limits what a human being could be. It also limits what these potential alien beings could be, and this brings us back to the theme we were mentioning earlier, that the orthodox scientific approach would be to say, “Well, the aliens are ruled out because they could not arise in a conventional way and travel here in a conventional way; therefore they don't exist.”
BH: Well, part two of your book deals with Vedic parallels to UFO phenomenon. We touched on the Vedic literature in hour one. You note that the UFO beings themselves seem to plan their contact with people in such a way that there is very little tangible evidence that they really exist. Why do you think that is?
RLT: Well the... of course one can only speculate as to what the motives of various beings would be. The basic Vedic picture would be that the universe in which we are existing is planned by higher intelligence so as to create a certain set of impressions for different kinds of beings within the universe. So right now, here on the earth, in our present human society, we tend to see reality in a certain way. It hasn't simply come about by chance or by accident, but the idea would be that there are higher powers within the universe who have arranged things so that they would work out in that way.
So it does appear that the existence of other intelligent beings like ourselves is something that has not been openly and blatantly revealed to us. There's the traditional saying about, “Well, why don't they land on the White House lawn?” Certainly you could imagine some beings in UFOs landing on the White House lawn and holding a News conference. And if they persisted, it would be rather difficult for people to avoid recognizing their... their existence. So... but we don't see that happening. So this ties in with the idea that the... you might say if you like, the UFO coverup is not merely something going on on the level of human society, which is something that we've been talking about, but it also occurs on higher levels also.
BH: I think that's very important. Near the end of your book you really do, I think, a wonderful job on that material. Now friends, we're gonna take a break here. When we get back we're going to talk about... is it pronounced vimanas?
BH: Vimanas... That there are various types of vimanas in the Vedic literature and these are airships. We gonna talk about those. We're gonna get to humanoids: How many types are said to be found throughout the universe according to the Vedic teachings. What's the origin of humans, the Vedic accounts of close encounter phenomena, and some parallels between the Western UFO abduction scenarios and those found in Vedic literature, and a lot more. Our guest is Dr. Richard Thompson, author of Alien Identities: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena... [break]
Ah Richard – vimanas.
BH: There are many types of vimanas. I had no idea. I learned so much from your book. I didn't... There are so many in the Vedic literature. Could you review some of the various kinds of airships reported and their capabilities?
RLT: Well, the vimanas can be broken down into several different types. First of all, there are flying machines that seem to be very similar to our own airplanes which are described in some Sanskrit literature such as the Samarangana-sutradhara. These are described as having wings. They are powered by some kind of engine. It's said... it is said that the engine involved heating mercury. I don't know how it's supposed to have worked, but these are physical flying machines of the kind that we are accustomed to constructing.
There are subtle vimanas said to be made of different kinds of energy that are not known to modern physics. We could call this basically subtle energy. There are, for example, what's called akasa-vimanas, which would be predominant... predominantly etheric in nature. The Vedic literature adheres to the view that what we call space is actually a kind of substance which could be called ether. In one sense that same idea, or a similar idea, is held in the theory of general relativity which says that gravitation is due to the curvature of space-time. That would indicate that there's something there to curve. However the concept of what is there is not necessarily the same as what you have in the Vedic literature.
But in any case, there is the idea that there is an underlying substance called ether. And from the Vedic perspective, although you might think that ether is very insubstantial because empty space seems to have nothing in it, the ether is actually more substantial than matter as we know it, and, in fact, matter as we know it is a transformation of ether. You could think of matter as being wave patterns in the ether. So there are types of vimanas or flying machines that are said to be essentially made of this etheric element.
Beyond that there are vimanas which are said to be made of purely spiritual elements. So there's a great deal of variety in the descriptions.
BH: And a great deal of variety in the sizes...
RLT: Excuse me?
BH: A great deal of variety in the size of the vimanas... That is their length.
RLT: Oh in the... in size?
BH: Yes. In size
RLT: Yes, the... yeah, size is... very, very substantially... the Vedic literature does refer to flying vehicles which are as large as cities. There are others which seem to be small enough that they are sort of like private planes piloted by a single individual. There's a parallel there to the idea of mother-ships that you find in the UFO literature because in fact there are descriptions of vimanas being surrounded by smaller vimanas just as the so called mother-ships are said to be surrounded by smaller vehicles that use them as a base of operations.
BH: Well let’s get to the humanoids. How many types of humanoids are said to be found throughout the universe? And what are their capabilities according to the Puranas?
RLT: Well according to the Puranas and Vedic literature, there are 400,000 human-like forms. Obviously these literatures don't give a detailed description of each type. Then you'd have to... let’s say a one page description for each type would require 400,000 pages. There are fairly detailed descriptions of, I would say, twenty or thirty different types.
Just as I was saying that the vimanas have... are of different types based on the physical substance that they're made from, the humanoid beings described in Vedic literature also have bodies made of different types of physical elements. You could say, in one sense, the thing that they have in common is, number one, the conscious self that is within the body, and number two, the form or structure of the body. But the body itself can be made of different types of elements.
So for example, the human body, as we know, is made to a very large extent of water and some admixture of different earthly elements. There are beings within the universe whose bodies are predominantly etheric. There are beings whose bodies are predominantly made of what you could call mental energy, or manas in Sanskrit, and so forth.
In addition, just as with the vimanas, there are purely spiritual bodily forms. So there's a great deal of variety and diversity.
BH: Have you seen a paper... I don't know if it's a paper or publication that lists about 69 to 70 different types of ET’s that have been seen in and around our planet? Have you seen that paper?
RLT: You know, there's a problem in the transmission. Your voice is now becoming very very distant and hard to hear.
BH: Maybe I'm passing into my etheric body here. I better get a... Am I any better now?
RLT: Yeah you're better now.
BH: Okay, I'm better now. But have you seen that reference to the possibility of 60 to 70 different types of ET’s?
RLT: Yes, I've run across that figure.
BH: But do you recall the reference for that, because I've been trying to find this reference?
RLT: Oh my goodness...
BH: Or perhaps we'll get...
RLT: ... I would say that Raymond Fowler would be a good source for that.
BH: He's out of the country, unfortunately. Well we'll bother him when he comes back in. Now to save a little time here, according to the Vedic teachings, what is the origin of humans?
RLT: Well according to the Vedic teaching, the human race has its ultimate origin in a spiritual stratum of existence. So the basic idea is that there is an eternal spiritual domain of reality. This is a theistic concept. You mentioned earlier the idea that some people say Hindu's are rat worshipers and cow worshipers. Actually they are God worshipers. They're monotheistic – they believe in one Supreme God from whom all different manifestations are emanating. So in particular, the original source of human beings is a spiritual realm of existence which is completely beyond physical nature as we know it. It's beyond space and time, which basically represent limitations on this spiritual level of existence.
So the basic concept is that from the spiritual level of existence, very highly subtle forms of intelligent life are initially manifested. So these are beings whose powers actually are very much greater than our own, somewhat analogous to the traditional idea of angels, for example, in Judeo-Christian tradition. From these beings, further beings are manifested. You have basically a hierarchical descent from one level to another until finally, human beings with bodies made of gross elements, earth and water and so forth, are produced.
So the basic idea is that human beings are indeed a product of descent with modification. That's a phrase taken from the theory of evolution, but it's a literal descent from higher forms with modification as opposed to an ascent from lower forms, which is what the theory of evolution would postulate.
BH: Well there are Vedic accounts of close encounter phenomena. Lets just touch on a couple of them. Would you briefly review some important examples?
RLT: There are many accounts in the Vedic literature of encounters with different kinds of beings. I'll just mention one story that is interesting in connection with the abduction phenomenon. This would be the abduction of a king named Duryodhana. Duryodhana is a famous figure in the epic work called the Mahabharata, which is actually the world's longest epic poem.
This king, because of some political reasons that I won't go into, had decided that he would fast unto death at a certain point. So he was sitting down with this intention in mind. It seems that some other beings in a region called Patalaloka, which would essentially be a higher-dimensional or subtle realm of existence, had political goals in mind for this particular king. And it disturbed their plans for him to fast to death. So they summoned up a rather strange looking female being called a kritya, which... basically kritya means a worker or someone who carries out operations for you.
This kritya appeared before the king, picked him up and transported him into this realm of Patalaloka. There he had an interview with these beings who were known as the Danavas. Basically they convinced him to play the role that they had in mind for him, and then he was taken back and deposited in the same place where he had been before. And the story goes that he lost his memory of what had happened, but retained the basic impression that he would be victorious in certain political engagements, especially in a certain war that was going to take place. And he, in fact, proceeded to act in a very irrational way on the basis of this conditioning which had been imposed on his mind.
So there are a lot of parallels between this story and some of the abduction cases, including the aspect of missing time or lost memory.
BH: So there are definite parallels between Western UFO abduction scenarios and those found in the Vedic literature.
RLT: Yes, there are... if you look at the descriptions of the characteristics exhibited by the UFO entities, you can draw a large number of parallels between those characteristics and different characteristics attributed to the beings in the Vedic accounts. In particular, in Vedic literature there are powers which are called siddhis. The word siddhi actually means perfection, but there are a number of different powers of this nature. One could basically, in English, call those mystic powers. And you see that the entities described, say in American UFO closer... close encounter cases, exhibit these powers according... yeah... according to the witnesses, even though in most cases, the witnesses probably don't know much about these mystic siddhis.
One example would be, for example: telepathic communication, which is standard in UFO cases, and you also find that in the Vedic literature; levitation which is called laghima siddhi – the UFO entities are typically said to levitate or float through the air; passing of matter through matter is another siddhi, which actually can be accomplished in a number of different ways. And it's significant that the UFO entities are said to pass through solid matter even though at the same time they seem to be physical in the sense that they can pick up objects, people have to focus their eyes in order to see them and so on and so forth.
BH: Well Richard, we're nearly out of time. But friends, there is so much more in this book such as the... the work concerning out-of-the-body experiences in UFO experiences, and parallels dealing with hairy monsters in the Vedic literature which we didn't touch on... that the... that there actually are reported administrative bunglings in the near-death and UFO experiences and recycling of souls, and what... a part that I really wanted to get to but couldn't was the... was the UFOs and religion part in which you review the pantheistic and impersonal views of the Supreme Being, but I want to end it up with the ’law of confusion.’ What is it and how does it apply to the reality of the UFO encounter?
RLT: So the basic concept in the Vedic literature is that the universe is a product of maya. Maya means illusion. And the basic concept is that the... for a conscious living being, the natural state of existence is purely spiritual, but in this material world, you have living beings who are in some way estranged from their spiritual identity. In one sense they've become alienated, if you want to use that term 'alien', from their actual spiritual identity.
So the reasons for this... that would of course require a long discussion. But the basic idea is that the universe runs on the basis of controlled illusion. This is known as maya. However the illusion is regulated in such a way that the living beings within the universe can learn about their actual spiritual identity. But they're not forced to learn faster than they're prepared to do so.
So you have a situation in which the universe is like a school in which illusion is used essentially as a... you might say, protective covering, so that the person can engage in learning experiences at his own pace. So this is the basic concept of maya in the Vedic literature, and in connection with the UFO phenomenon, you can see a lot of information which fits into this basic pattern.
BH: Yep indeed, we're out of time Richard. You have written a most important work. We obviously needed four hours to cover it satisfactorily. Maybe you'll be able to join my wife so that her listeners can absorb some of this very significant research. Our guest has been Richard... Dr. Richard Thompson, author of Alien Identities: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena, Govardhana Hill publishing. To order, call (904) 462-0466. That's (904) 462-0466, and when we return, Janice Daltry will be with us to discuss some Skybox publications. Actually I call them miniature encyclopedias, trading cards. We’re gonna have to talk a little bit about Star Trek and Bill Nye, the science guy.