Interview Discussing Parallels
Thompson offers a comprehensive synopsis of his book, Alien Identities (also titled Parallels: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena), in this hour and a half interview. He explains that after examining a vast array of UFO accounts gathered over recent decades, he pieced together a comprehensive survey suggesting compelling similarities among divergent contemporary accounts, as well as with testimonies from ancient culture. Thompson reports intriguing parallels in areas including remote viewing, paranormal research, and Christian mysticism.
TRANSCRIPT: Interview Discussing Parallels: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena: Alachua, FL – April, 1998 / (921)
Introduction by Yadunandan das [translated from the Danish]: You are listening to Radio Krishna on 87.6 MHz… [music]... In this Radio Krishna broadcast we will listen to an interview, made by my Swedish godbrother Priyavrata das. He has been in the USA, in Alachua in Florida, and spoken with our scientist Sadaputa. I met Priyavrata in our North Sealand Temple recently, and he told me he was on his way to America to see Sadaputa. I asked him to bring a recorder to see if he could get an interview with this interesting person. And so he did. In this interview Sadaputa refers to two lectures, he had recently given, one in the Sivananda Yoga Ashram and another in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts – two lectures about supernatural phenomena from a Krishna conscious perspective. We will get to know about flying saucers, poltergeist phenomena, and other supernatural phenomena in relation to spiritual consciousness and Krishna consciousness. The lecture is 90 min. Your host and studio engineer is Yadunandan das.
RLT: I began by talking a little bit about anomalies, ideas or observations that apparently contradicted accepted theory. And I pointed out that anomalous evidence has two features. One is the evidence will go beyond anyone's limits of acceptance. In other words, people based on their belief system tend to have certain limits within which they operate. And the nature of empirical evidence, if you actually look at it, is that it can go beyond any of those limits. So, that results in suppression of data – people tend to suppress things that don't fit. And this is a natural tendency. So, this lecture is largely about suppressed data. And the first topic that I discussed was UFOs and I first talked about UFOs as physical craft and then as paranormal phenomena. And the point is that both aspects are there.
So, the UFO phenomenon provides one of the strongest bodies of evidence for the reality of paranormal phenomena because of the very physical aspect that is also there with the UFOs. So, I talked about different kinds of physical evidence for UFOs and that includes ground traces, electromagnetic interference with automobiles; there are UFO induced injuries; there's the question of material remains, that is actual objects or artifacts from UFOs; the question of implants; there are radar cases especially reported by the military. You see that UFOs do reflect radar. Then there are photographs and audio tapes. In the lecture I showed a video tape of a UFO that hovered in a stationary position and then abruptly accelerated off the screen. So, within one frame it disappeared. Then there's the whole question of government and military involvement in the UFO issue, which I didn't really talk about in this lecture. That's the subject for many books, actually.
So, to illustrate some of these points, I gave some examples. I mentioned that although in this country there's not much in the way of scientific investigation of UFOs because the scientists tend to shun the subject, but if you go, for example, to France, there's an organization connected with their space agency. It's founded by Jean Jacques Velasco. GEPAN is the acronym for it. They've investigated a number of cases in a scientific fashion.
One occurred in a place called Trans-en-Provence. An unknown object came down and landed in this man's field, farmer's field, and just took off. So, it left a dent in the field. So, that was investigated scientifically and it was concluded that a temperature of 300 to 600 degrees centigrade was involved in producing that imprint. A pressure of several tons must've been required. And there were notable biochemical changes in the plants. As you moved in from the periphery towards the center of the disturbance the plants seem to age biochemically. Just like in the autumn leaves change colors naturally. Well, these changes were accelerated in the plants near the center of the disturbance. So, that's quite curious because the scientist who investigated it said he didn't know what would produce that acceleration in the natural aging process.
Priyavrata: So you mean that they're more open to these kinds of phenomenon in France?
RLT: Yes. At least in some areas they're more open to scientific investigation of these things. I know that's true in Belgium also. So, I discussed the flight characteristics of UFOs. For example, there's a fellow named Paul Hill associated with NASA, the US space agency, and he described the flight characteristics based on many accounts and he said, these fit together to give you a consistent picture of a certain kind of craft that flies in a certain way. And he mentioned some features of this.
It's not aerodynamic flight. There's no jet or rocket action involved. The UFO tilts when it maneuvers. That is to go in a certain direction, it will tilt and then move in that direction. Typically there's a lack of sonic booms even though they travel at supersonic speeds. Accelerations of a hundred Gs or more are frequently noted. They may go 9,000 miles per hour, which is many times the speed of sound. They seem to have some kind of anti-gravity field and there are accompanying electromagnetic and plasma effects. For example, UFOs, when they fly near somebody's automobile, typically the ignition fails, the car stalls, and it won't start until the UFO is gone. So, there seems to be some electromagnetic field effect that will interfere with the car's electrical system. So, here you have a scientist who is describing what appear to be real features of some actual craft that is flying about.
P: And you mentioned that he works for NASA.
RLT: Yeah, he works for NASA.
P: So that's remarkable. I think that means that they are seriously investigating this also.
RLT: Yeah. Now, he is not speaking on behalf of NASA.
P: Does it on his own...
RLT: But he is a scientist associated with NASA and this is what he is saying. So, it shows that it's a serious subject for investigation. I mentioned some evidence concerning the acceleration characteristics of UFOs. This was an analysis made of a videotape that somebody made with a home, handheld camcorder, specifically a Sony CCDM8. The UFO was initially hovering in the center of the picture and within five frames it left the screen. Now there are 30 frames per second and if you go frame by frame, you'll see starting from it's stationary position within five frames it went off the edge. And you can measure the acceleration in terms of angle, radians per second squared. So, if you assumed that the UFO was a thousand feet away, of course it's hard to say how far away it is. But let's say for the sake of argument, it was a thousand feet away. It would have been accelerating at about 500 Gs. And that's considerable acceleration. That would...
P: [unclear]... flat.
RLT: Yeah, a human being at that acceleration will be just flattened against the wall, like a thin jelly. So, how do they do it? This is completely unknown. So, that was a very brief summary of the physical evidence. And of course you could go on and on talking about that.
I then turned to the topic of UFO abductions in which these are cases where people will say that they've been captured by alien entities and taken on board a UFO. The UFO abductions, you could characterize as being very strange stories, but the curious thing about them is that they tend to be made by quite normal, respectable people. Given the strangeness of the accounts one immediate tendency would be to say that the people are crazy to report such things.
Psychological studies have been made. I reported on one of them, there've been quite a number. One does not find that the people who are UFO experiencers are crazy or that they suffer from a mental syndrome that would be recognized by psychology. For example, I mentioned a study by Nicholas Spanos and other colleagues reported in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in which they tested a group of what they called intense UFO experiencers. That is people who'd had abductions and close encounters. And they had a control group of college students who are taking psychology courses and also people who had just answered a general newspaper ad to participate in a psychological experiment. And they tested them on various scales.
For example, they had first of all the MMPI schizophrenia test, perceptual aberration test, what they called the magical ideation scale – tendency to think in terms of sort of superstitious, magical modes of conceptualization. They tested for temporal lobe lability and fantasy proneness. They wanted to see if these people are unusually fantasy prone. And they found that the UFO intense experiencers tended to score lower on these different scales than the controls. So, you couldn't conclude that they had a greater tendency than the controls to be fantasy prone, for example.
P: Controls here means average?
RLT: Yeah. The other people who weren't UFO experiencers were used as a control group.
RLT: So, now these authors did not accept the reality of UFO experiences and they concluded that these people must be imagining this anyway. But the point is that their data did not give any basis for that. Nonetheless, they still concluded it because to them, that's the only thing that it could be. It has to be imagination because after all, we don't want to agree that some strange alien humanoids are really flying around out there.
P: I remember this point you made in Alien Identities, was it? That in court you normally accept people's personal, their evidence. I mean their testimonies as valid evidence.
P: Unless they are considered mentally unstable or something. So, why don't they also accept people's...
RLT: Yeah. Well, you see this is an example of evidence of an anomalous nature that goes beyond people's limits of acceptance. And when the evidence becomes unacceptable, well, people reject it. They explain it away in one way or another.
So, I went on to discuss some of the characteristic features of UFO close encounter and abduction cases. For example, there are encounters with alien entities. This is one factor. The entities typically communicate telepathically. The experience may involve projections of images and illusions within the mind. There's levitation – the entities, although they usually have basically a human appearance and they can walk on two legs in the normal fashion, typically they're seen levitating. And then human subjects will say that sometimes they themselves are levitated into the air or that they float up into the UFO and so forth. Then there are unusual light displays associated with these entities. For example, if the entity appears within the person's room at night, that will be preceded by some strange light that cannot be accounted for. The beings will tend to appear or disappear abruptly. For example, you may be in the presence of one of these beings and suddenly it's gone in a flash. The entities are reported as passing through walls. So, it's as though they're insubstantial, ghostlike, but it turns out that they're solid also. They can pick things up. You touch them and they seem to be solid and real.
There's long distance hypnotic control. People will report being guided to the scene of the encounter as though some influence was being directed mentally to go to a certain place. And then it should be noted that – and this is a controversial area – many memories of these encounters have been recovered using hypnosis, but many memories are also reported without any use of hypnosis. And that's important to realize because people may say that hypnosis can create false memories, but people also remember directly without hypnosis. Sometimes it is argued also that zealous UFO investigators may induce people to remember something that didn't really happen. They say, "Well, did you see this? And what did the aliens look like?" And you know, asking leading questions and so on. But there are cases where people simply report these things and they have not been indoctrinated by UFO investigators or anybody else. They simply are reporting what they experienced.
So, there are characteristics of these UFO abduction cases which tie them in with a broader category of paranormal phenomena. For example, people who've been abducted very often take to automatic writing or trans-communication with the entities. Now, this is something that you see in other areas such as spiritualism, where there'll be automatic writing perhaps within Ouija Board or some other method. So this happens with abductees also. UFO experiencers tend to have a psychical track record. Now, this is interesting. They don't tend to necessarily test higher on tests measuring fantasy proneness. But if you check to see whether or not they've had psychical experiences, you'll find that they do have this tendency.
P: You mean they got this after they...
RLT: Before or after. Now another feature... UFO abduction experiencers will very often say that they had some scar on their body, which was presumably produced by the entities on the UFO, some unaccountable scar. But going beyond that, there are mysterious scratches and wounds and marks of various kinds which appear on people's bodies. This is a feature of the UFO abduction cases. This is also something seen more broadly in old studies of witchcraft and demonology and so forth. The victim would be scratched mysteriously and so on. Then there's the question of sexual interactions with aliens. That's definitely part of the UFO abduction picture.
P: Common part?
RLT: Yeah, very often this is reported for both men and women. And there seems to be experimentation in which a woman is impregnated and then they take the fetus. All kinds of things like this. It gets quite gruesome. This also relates to a broader category of reported phenomenon. For example, succubi and incubi as reported in, well for example, the tradition of the Roman Catholic church. You can go back to Saint Augustine who was talking about the reality of succubi and incubi.
P: That means male and female demons or beings who attack you or....
RLT: Yeah, some kind of beings of a somewhat ghostly nature that come and attack a person sexually, male or female as the case may be. So, the modern experiences with the UFO entities seem to fit into that general category. Here I have a quote from Jenny Randles, a British UFO investigator, that abductees tend to be psychic. I have... let's see. I next consider briefly the general topic of paranormal phenomena. Now that includes such things as remote viewing – that is seeing things at a distance; remote influence through hypnosis – that is, it's been demonstrated in parapsychological experiments that it is possible to hypnotize a person at a distance, even without their knowledge.
For example, there's a Russian investigator named Vasiliev who did a lot of experiments in pretty much the 1930s. These were controlled experiments in which people would be given the command to go to sleep by a hypnotist at a distance. Now there again, there were control cases in which the person was not ordered to go to sleep by the hypnotist at the distance and the person dealing with the subject would not know whether they were being ordered to go to sleep or not. So, they tabulated the statistics and they were able to show that in cases where the hypnotist was ordering the person from a distance to go to sleep, they went to sleep more quickly on the average than in the cases where this was not happening. And this worked over very large distances. I think from the Black Sea to Leningrad or something like that. So, in any case, that's remote influence, which is also something we see in the UFO cases.
Then poltergeist phenomena in which typically in the vicinity of some target person, various inexplicable events occur – electrical equipment malfunctions, the TV may turn on or the lights may turn off, mysterious fires may start, there may be noises, objects may fly through the air, and so forth. These things typically happen in poltergeist cases. Then there's psychic healing. There are phenomena associated with spirit mediums including objects floating through the air. Then trans-communications, things of that nature. There are apparitions in which people will see some image forming. Then there are out-of-body experiences. And I also listed reincarnation memories, that is, memories of past lives. So, those are some of the features of paranormal phenomena.
Now, paranormal phenomena of the extreme type are generally considered to be fraudulent. However, that's not necessarily a correct conclusion. What happened was that in the early part of the 20th century, there was something called spiritualism, actually late 19th century and early 20th century, in which people would hold seances in which various paranormal phenomena would take place. Basically, they were interested in summoning up the spirits of the departed who would then speak either through the medium or by actually materializing a form which people would see as an apparition and then speaking and so forth. What happened was that a lot of people begin exploiting the situation by faking different things. So, they would have somebody dressed up in white, go into the seance room, and pretend to be the spirit of the departed, and so on. So the whole thing became disreputable. But there've been many scientific studies of cases in which it seems quite clear that unusual phenomena were occurring. For example, William Crookes, famous British physicist – he's the fellow who invented the Cathode Ray tube actually – he did extensive studies of mediums and so forth and reported all kinds of unusual phenomenon. So...
P: May I ask? You mentioned for example this experiment they did in Russia with the long distance hypnotist. It seems a long time ago, seems many years back they've been doing this parapsychological research. I think, especially in Russia, right? But also here in America? I mean, what is the general idea about this among the scientists nowadays? I mean, is it becoming a little bit more accepted since they've been working on for so long. And I think they also have been using standard scientific ways of verifying these things.
RLT: Yes. What you tend to find is that scientists in general, that is mainstream scientists, will simply ignore this whole field. They don't want to get involved with it. They feel, no doubt rightly, that if they did get involved with it, it would damage their careers. So on the whole, it's just ignored, even though so many studies have been made. That's more or less the status quo, you might say. And it doesn't seem to be changing very rapidly. On the other hand, you have organizations in which parapsychologist's report their findings and so on. They publish journals. It's sort of a sub-science, you might say, existing alongside mainstream science, but it's not accepted by the mainstream.
So, the subject of the paranormal phenomena is interesting in its own right. But the intriguing thing is that if you look at the UFO phenomena, many of the same types of things are reported. For example, consider the case of Betty and Barney Hill. This is a famous UFO abduction case. One of the first ones that received a lot of publicity. Now, the interesting thing about it is that if you look at the standard accounts of that case, you'll see no mention of paranormal phenomena. But, Betty and Barney Hill were investigated by this Dr. Berthold Schwarz, who’s the fellow down in Vero Beach, Florida that I know. He's a psychiatrist and he has investigated UFO reports for a long time. So, he also investigated the case of Betty and Barney Hill. He found that Betty Hill from her childhood had a history of a psychical phenomenon.
P: May I ask you. A very famous example in America?
RLT: Yeah. In America.
P: What is so special about? Because I don't know really.
RLT: It's the first widely publicized abduction case. The story is: Betty and Barney Hill, that was a biracial couple – Barney Hill was black and Betty Hill was white. Barney Hill died shortly after the UFO incident. I think Betty Hill is still living. So, what happened was that they were returning from Canada where they've been on a vacation and they were driving – this was during winter – they were driving at night through New Hampshire. They lived in Boston I think. So, as they were driving along they saw this glowing object in the sky, which was not behaving like an airplane. And at a certain point, Barney got out of the car with some binoculars that he had with him and looked at the object and he was terrified by what he saw. He ran back into the car and said, "They're after us!" So, he claimed that looking into the UFO with his binoculars, he saw an entity looking back at him, which scared him considerably.
P: I would believe so.
RLT: So they drove off and they got back home. But there was a period of missing time. They'd returned home and they knew how many miles it was, but it seemed as though it took them a lot longer than they would have expected, but they didn't remember what they did during that time. So, that was mysterious. And they began having different nightmares and unpleasant physical symptoms. So, finally they went to a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist used hypnotherapy to try to find out what was bothering them. And lo and behold, under hypnotherapy – this was done to the two of them separately – the story came out that they drove along for a while, they turned down a vacant dirt road, went into the woods, and once they got into the woods, they found the UFO parked there. And these entities came, took them out of their car, took them on board the UFO, subjected them both to what looked like a medical examination in which they were laid out on the table and probed with different objects and so forth, and then took them back to the car. So, that story then came out and was widely publicized.
So, that was one of the first well known UFO abduction cases. So in the story as it was generally presented, there was no mention of anything paranormal, but it turns out Betty Hill, as a teenager would, for example, foresee a fatal auto accident for one of her classmates in school. And sure enough it would happen, things like that. Then after the UFO incident, all kinds of poltergeist events began happening in their home. The clothes would be out of the closet mysteriously and all over the floor, there were knocking sounds and the usual repertoire of poltergeist effects were taking place. Also, there were in her family a history of psychic phenomena, hauntings and things of that nature. So, that shows the psychic phenomenon tie in. Now, it's interesting that Betty Hill was known as a UFO contactee but it turned out that there's this history of poltergeist experiences and so forth.
You can contrast that with Uri Geller. You may know of him. He is known as a psychic. He's famous or infamous, as the case may be. But the fact is that his abilities were acquired after a UFO encounter.
P: I never heard about that.
RLT: Yeah. So, this happened when he was a child. The story is that this round object came down out of the sky and this being came out of it and zapped him with a beam of light. And after that, where he went watches would change their time setting, clocks might stop, keys would bend, spoons would bend, and things like this. So that's the story there.
So, I went over another case. This is the case of Jim and Jacques Weiner, who went up on a camping trip with some friends in the Allagash region of Maine, and they reported a UFO abduction. They were out in their canoe paddling along trying to do some fishing at night. And this glowing object came down from the sky, shot out a beam, they were pulled by the beam up into the UFO where these strange insect like creatures examined them and so forth. And then they were sent back. So it was a typical UFO abduction case. But it turns out that in their childhood they had experiences with what they called Harry, the ghost, and experiences of raps, objects moving, glowing balls appearing inside the house, the TV would turn on and off, there were were apparitions, and so forth. So there again, you have the same connection.
Then there is this Carla Turner who is actually a PhD in old English studies. So she's, you know, an educated person. She had these kinds of UFO experiences and she did a study herself. She said that in a group of 21 UFO abductees, in 21 cases the people reported unexplained voices. For example, you're sitting in your room at night and you hear a voice calling your name and you can't figure out where the voice comes from. Unexplained sounds such as beeps and whistles and so forth. 16 people reported heightened psychic abilities. 16 reported unexplained noises in their homes, also unexplained electrical disturbances. 16 also reported the overnight appearance of strange marks on their bodies such as punctures, bruises, and claw marks, and 12 mentioned the unexplained appearance or disappearance of household objects.
So you have the same pattern – UFO experiences and poltergeists. Or again in another case, there's this Stonehenge apartment case in New Jersey reported by Bud Hopkins, who's a famous UFO investigator. And in his report he mentioned the evidence for the UFO visitation, but he didn't mention anything psychic. But when Berthold Schwarz investigated that case, he found that in the Stonehenge apartment area, there are all kinds of psychical things were going on. And some of the people involved in seeing the UFO had experience of possible precognition, apparitions, telekinesis, and so forth – different psychic effects.
Then there's the phenomenon of psychic healing. So, this is a general phenomenon once again, but it turns out that you find psychic healing in the cases of UFOs. There are many reports of people who've been mysteriously cured of severe ailments after a UFO encounter or during a UFO encounter. So I have a bit of material on the whole subject of psychic healing in general.
Typically, miraculous or psychic healing seems to involve some kind of subtle energy field. It may involve altered states of consciousness on the part of the individual involved. The healer usually will claim to be only instrumental and they will say that the power of God is working through them, or Jesus, as the case may be; or some spirit or entity they will say is working through them and that they are merely a medium for this. Mystical beings are frequently said to be involved such as spirits, or perhaps the Virgin Mary in many cases, or UFO entities as it turns out.
There have been experimental studies verifying healing effects. That is, healers who worked with people laying on hands and things like this have also done experiments in which say the healer tries to influence a tissue culture or something like that, or small rodents, and then they have a control case where a person who is not a healer does the same thing that the healer did. Then they compare the results, and definite effects have been measured. So, there are cases like that.
So, I mentioned here a couple of cases from Lourdes in France illustrating what can happen in these miraculous healing cases. For example, there's the case of this fellow, Serge Perrin, who had severe neurological disorders. He was paralyzed on the right side; he had great difficulty in walking; he had total blindness on the left side; he would have repeated attacks characterized by loss of ability to speak, and his condition was deteriorating. And doctors had said that this was due to defects in the circulation in his brain and so forth. It was a progressive deterioration. So, while attending a ceremony at Lourdes, he was suddenly cured. Suddenly he felt he was okay and he got up and walked without his sticks and he was able to see normally. Apparently there's a big courtyard in front of the church building there. And when he came out of the church, he found that he could, with either eye, he could read the signs at the other side of the courtyard, which previously he wouldn't have been able to do at all. So it would appear that he was suddenly cured of a very serious disorder.
Then there's the case of Pierre De Rudder. This man had broken his leg in a serious accident. The leg never healed properly, and doctors had given up on him. There was some kind of chronic infection and the bones wouldn't come together and heal. So he was unable to walk and was in very bad shape and this went on for years. So, he managed to reach a shrine of Lourdes in Belgium, a place called Oostakker, and experienced a sudden cure. He walked home and he was all right, completely cured.
P: Maybe he was just hypnotized to think that he could walk.
RLT: Right. But the thing of it is, something had to put the bones back together. Now, a more remarkable example of this is this fellow named Vittorio Micheli who had osteolysis of the inferior half of the iliac bone and of the acetabular roof, amputation of the two rami of the ischium and gross osteoporosis of the femoral head, fusiform cell sarcoma. Anyway...
P: Which means?
RLT: Which means if you translate it, that the ball and socket joint of his, or the thigh joints of the hip completely disintegrated due to a cancer and various parts of the bone where simply gone. They were destroyed by the cancer, which was growing and spreading throughout his body. So he had himself taken to Lourdes and he experienced a sudden cure also. The amazing thing there is that when the doctors... Now in this case, there was very good medical evidence showing his condition. There were x-rays and so forth.
RLT: Yeah. Before. So, it was established very clearly that the bone really had been destroyed and so forth. So after further tests and x-rays and so on were taken and it was found that the femur and the joint had reconstructed. Not only that, but the new ball and socket joint of the femur was displaced by half an inch from the old one as they could see by looking at the x-rays. In other words, it was really a new joint. It wasn't just that the old one got better somehow, but a new joint was there, displaced by half an inch from where the old one was. So that's unusual. Now this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen in humans or even in mammals. It's a fact that certain lower animals like a salamander, you can cut off a leg and it will grow a new leg. But it's not supposed to happen with humans. But in his case it did. So that illustrates this phenomenon of unusual healing.
But we see the same thing reported in UFO cases. For example, there was this French doctor investigated by Jacques Vallee, who he simply calls Doctor X because he didn't want his name revealed. But the report is that this man had first of all, chronic injuries from the Algerian war in which, for example, he wasn't able to play the piano anymore, which he previously liked to do, because of the injuries. And he had recently injured himself with an axe. He was chopping wood and the axe slipped and he cut his leg. And that was, you know, a painful injury. Well, he had this UFO experience in which the UFO directed a beam of light at him. And after that the injuries went away. He was cured. A lot of other very mysterious things happened in his case also. But, that's an example, but there are many examples like that.
So, with that introductory material, I wanted to go over some interpretations of the UFO phenomena given by different people. One school of thought regards the UFOs as physical craft. And of course there was evidence that they are physical craft as I indicated before. What are we doing in the way of time?
P: We have no problem.
RLT: No problem. So, one school of thought would say the UFOs are physical craft and that's it. They are nuts and bolts spaceships piloted here by beings from another planet. This is the extraterrestrial hypothesis. And these people tend to downplay any evidence for paranormal phenomena associated with UFOs. On the other hand, you have people who tend to recognize the paranormal aspect but they tend to try to make the UFO somehow nonphysical. But the fact is we have both types of evidence: physical and paranormal. And it would appear that they are physical/paranormal phenomena. So in any case, I wanted to make some observations.
There's a professor J.H. Bruening from University of Mississippi who made an interesting observation. He said a UFO phenomenon is a contrived paranormal event created for the benefit of the viewer with a specific stimulus content. This phenomenon is a show and tell device precisely geared to the culture in which it is presented. This raises an interesting point. Nowadays the UFOs appear and they seem to exhibit high technology, which greatly impresses people. And you might say that, well, if you go back a hundred years or 200 years, you don't find this kind of thing being reported. But you do find everything but the high technology being reported. So, it would appear that whoever is behind these different kinds of manifestations has added some high tech whiz-bang effects to impress the 20th century people. That's what it looks like. But the common theme would be these paranormal effects.
Now, there's this David Jacobs, associate professor of history at Temple University. He has done many studies of UFO abductions and he accepts these phenomena as real and he accepts the extraterrestrial hypothesis. He also however, accepts that the UFO entities levitate and he even accepts that they can pass matter through matter. That is, they can move something through a wall, including even a human subject. He would argue that this is done with some kind of high technology perfected by the UFO entities. But he doesn't like the idea of other kinds of paranormal phenomena. He doesn't want to be associated with such disreputable topics.
P: But isn't it so that those UFO sightings, that they started after the nuclear bomb?
RLT: Pretty much. The big flurry of UFO reports dates back more or less to 1947 or thereabouts, which is shortly after the first atomic bombs were set off. Then of course during World War II, there were also UFO reports. The US fighter pilots and bomber pilots would report what they called ‘foo fighters’ and they thought these were German secret weapons. Apparently the German pilots were also reporting them and they thought they might be allied secret weapons. But they were very unusual devices – there would be a glowing ball that would follow the aircraft. So, they go back pretty much to World War II. You don't hear so much about these things prior to World War II.
Now, Jacques Vallee is a longtime UFO investigator who nowadays rejects the extraterrestrial spaceship hypothesis. Partially because there are so many UFO reports that it's really hard to explain that in terms of somebody visiting from another planet. It would seem we must have rather intense traffic from other planets given the thousands and thousands of reports that are made. That's one of his main points. Now he argues that there is some kind of higher dimensional multiverse. He used that term instead of universe – multiverse. And he regards the UFO phenomenon is some kind of systematic conditioning system for the human population.
P: Systematic conditioning system?
RLT: Yes. So in other words, we're being conditioned to think certain things and accept certain things through this UFO phenomenon. This is what he argues. It's similar to what Bruening said about a contrived phenomenon intended to convey a certain impression to people. So, Jacques Vallee thinks that we're dealing with something like that. That somebody is trying to influence our thinking, move us systematically in certain directions. This is his hypothesis. He also criticizes the misuse of hypnosis in UFO cases, which of course is a whole controversial topic.
Then there is Kenneth Ring and Michael Grosso. Kenneth Ring is a professor of psychology at University of Connecticut. He did a study comparing UFO experiencers and people experiencing out-of-body experiences. He tends to favor, you might say, mental or psychological explanation of the UFOs. However, he doesn't deny their reality. He postulates what he calls an imaginal realm, something perhaps vaguely connected with Carl Hume's, sort of universal subconscious mind, collective subconscious. And he proposes that the UFOs are generated within this imaginal realm. However, he considers the possibility that this imaginal realm itself may manifest all kinds of real phenomena. So, he has a curious hypothesis based on some kind of mind at large. Some sort of universal mind. His tendency is to think that this mind comes about as a product of many human minds. But of course another alternative would be that the human minds are a product of an underlying universal mind. So, it depends on how you look at it. Now, if this mind at large can produce real phenomena such as the physical effects associated with the UFOs, then that would seem to suggest that it must be a bit more than just individual human minds interacting together. So, that's an idea that is contributed by him.
Then we have Dr. John Mack, who was a psychiatrist at the Harvard Medical School, professor of psychiatry actually. He has done a study of a UFO abductees and he accepts the reality of alien visitations. He tends to emphasize though that the encounters with the aliens have some role in the spiritual transformation of the humans who experience these encounters. So, he doesn't see it simply as a matter of some invaders coming in and experimenting on us or doing scientific studies of humans. Rather, he thinks that it has something to do with the progress or development of human consciousness. So, that aspect is there.
Now this Don Elkins, who was a professor of physics at the University of Louisville, investigated UFO contactees. There's a distinction commonly made between contactees and abductees. Typically in a UFO abduction the person seems to be more or less taken against his or her will and subjected to various experiments and so forth by the entities. And usually it's regarded as being an unpleasant or terrifying experience. In contactee cases on the other hand, you have a friendly relationship between a human being and the entities, and they may take the human being on a trip to visit various places in their UFO. They may have friendly conversations and the beings may present different philosophical ideas and so forth. So the modern day UFO investigators tend to reject the contactee cases as false, whereas they tend to accept the abduction cases as real.
P: Why is that?
RLT: Basically, the idea is that contactees are just fabricating a nice story. They say, well, they met the entities and they had a good time and the entity took them to Venus and showed them something and so forth. So, these stories tend to be rejected. Partly, this is due to the historical development in the early 1950s where a number of contactees tried to cash in on their stories, and they told wilder and wilder stories in an attempt to earn money, selling books and giving lectures on the UFO lecture circuit and so forth. So, basically the contactees were discredited. However, investigation shows that you have a spectrum from contactee cases to abduction cases, and you really can't draw a line between the two because, you find every mixture of different features. For example, someone may be abducted against their will and later they will have friendly relations with the entities or someone may have friendly relations with the entities, but then further investigation reveals that they had the abduction experience also, that is they were medically examined and so on and so forth. So, it's really hard to draw a line between the two.
So, this Don Elkins studied contactees and he found that he was able to even experimentally produce contactee effects. That is, he was able to get people to meditate on the UFO entities and actually have experiences in which they then reported typical philosophical doctrines expounded by the UFO entities. Interestingly enough, this includes a kind of impersonal philosophy, which sounds very much like Vedanta. That's an intriguing aspect of this whole thing. So, Elkins argued that religious or spiritual factors are inseparable from this UFO phenomenon and he argued that the UFO entities are coming from some other dimension or some other level of density, you might say.
P: One question. You said that they're inseparable from religious and spiritual phenomena?
P: What did he base that on? Just that there were some times preaching some philosophy? But that doesn't seem to be, I mean in all cases.
RLT: Well, he argued that if you really look at it, you find this element in practically all of the cases. That is, and this was also supported by this John Mack who was investigating abduction cases. Because he argued that even in the cases where the people are ostensibly just experimented on, that they go through all kinds of transformations in consciousness. They become interested in spiritual things, they wind up believing in reincarnation or out-of-body experience, and so forth.
By the way, another feature of the UFO encounter cases is that people who have them frequently also have out-of-body experiences. In some cases, the out-of-body experience will take place on board the UFO. In other cases, the person who will go out of their body and then go on board a UFO, or they may go out of their body after the UFO experience. But separation from the body seems to be connected with the UFO experiences. And people wind up then believing that there's something other than the body. So, some kind of spiritual development seems to take place as a result of these experiences. And this happens in a lot of cases. So, that's what John Mack was stressing and this Elkins also made that observation.
So, Elkins argued that these UFO experiences are intended to be educational. And he made the interesting point that final proof is withheld so that seeking is stimulated without blocking freewill, which is an interesting observation because people will ask, "Well, why do we never get final proof of these things?" It's always sort of something tantalizing just occurring at the edges of our perception, so to speak. Why don't the UFO entities simply land on the White House lawn and hold a press conference and prove that they exist once and for all, do interviews, and so forth? But, Elkins argues that it's actually a deliberate strategy of inducing people to think about things without giving them final proof, which would interfere with free will.
This, by the way, is a common theme that goes through the UFO encounter cases because people will say that the entities tell them that we're not allowed to interfere with you. Then you could say, well, you are interfering with us. But the reply would be that they're interfering in such a way that there's no really definite proof that the interference has occurred.
So, I then wanted to sum up a few points concerning the similarity of the UFO cases with other categories of experience, specifically in the paranormal area. So, for example, if you look at the phenomenon of spirit mediums and psychics, you'll find telepathy, spirit communication, levitation, mysterious luminous phenomena, materialization of objects, or passing of matter through matter. All these kinds of things are reported in connection with the mediums and psychics. Now, in the case of the UFOs, we reported all these same things: Telepathic communication, channeling – by the way, the contactees or abductees often start channeling information from UFO entities after the experience – of course levitation and passing of matter through matter, the entities going through the walls and so forth.
Then if you turn to the phenomena of mysticism, for example, as indicated in the Catholic Church, you have stigmata. This is an interesting topic. These would be wounds that appear on the body corresponding, let's say to the crucifixion of Christ. So, it is interesting that states of consciousness can result in unusual wounds forming on the body. Now, in the UFO cases, you have people reporting all these scratches, claw marks and so forth. These are also reported in the case of psychic phenomenon, especially those of a more demonic nature. You have the whole subject of demonology for example, in which of course there are also in the Catholic Church, there's a huge body of information on that.
So, the idea of changes occurring in the body also is something we see in all these different areas. So, under phenomenon of mysticism, stigmata was one, levitation again, bi-location means shifting to a different place, different Catholic saints were said to have done that. The saint would be in one place and then he goes to some other place. And it's indicated he was in both places on the same day and there are many miles apart or something like that. There are mysterious luminous phenomena, the saints emit glowing effulgence and so forth; telepathy is reported; also materialization, miraculous healing, which we also saw in the UFO cases; apparitions, such as the Virgin Mary, and so forth. Different cases of the appearance of the Virgin Mary have been compared with UFO encounter cases for example. And then there's the topic of demonology, including the incubi and succubi, the sexual aspect of the encounters and so forth. So, you can draw all sorts of parallels there.
Then if you turn to India, of course you find all of these things. Certainly, telepathy, telepathic communication. There are the siddhis. There's levitation or laghima siddhi. There is the movement of objects from one location to another, which is called prapti siddhi so that things can appear and disappear suddenly. Long range hypnotic control is also there. We see that in the UFO cases. Parapsychologists have experimented with it and in India that's referred to as vasita siddhi, ability to control someone's mind from a distance. And this also, by the way involves projection of different kinds of illusions. For example, some of the Indian magicians definitely make use of this power of illusion. That is, a magical act may involve some props and tricks and so forth, but it may also involve projecting an illusion, especially if you get people into a believing frame of mind and a sort of group psychology of belief occurs. Then people become very susceptible to experiencing an illusion which is projected into their minds.
But similar things seem to happen with the UFO cases. There's so many examples of this. For example, the UFO entities may appear as animals – owls or deer or what not. There are a lot of examples like that. There is the case in which the UFO is seen by some people as a bus.
P: A bus?
RLT: Yeah, there’s a case like that. One fellow saw the UFO following them and the other person just saw that there was a bus behind them. A lot of material indicating illusions that can be produced by the entities. Of course, in India also you find the tradition that the devas can project illusions. For example, when the Pandava’s went to the heavenly planets, they were initially given the illusion that they were in the hellish planets. And, then that was done by Indra, then the illusion was removed. And they saw, "Oh, we're in the heavenly planets." So, there are many different siddhis that follow the same basic pattern.
So, what you seem to have is a general class of phenomena which has manifested in a sort of specialized form in the modern day and age through what is called the UFO phenomena. Now, if you go to India you find that the idea that flying machines are connected with these phenomena is also there, because there you have the vimanas, which are Vedic flying machines you might say.
The interesting thing about the vimanas is that although there are some traditions that humans were able to manufacture flying machines in India, these seem to be machines that are very much like airplanes, and they seem to work by comprehensible principles. But the vimanas in general were not made by humans. A good example would be the vimana used by Salva to attack Dvarka. He got that from Maya Danava. And if you look at the description of that vimana, it sounds very much like a UFO. It is described that it was glowing. It moved in the air like a firefly in a gusty wind. UFOs, are known for very irregular movement, they dart from here to there making sharp angle turns and so forth. So, like a firefly in the wind. Sometimes it would manifest double images or multiple images of itself. And UFOs, are known to do that also. Other times it would vanish from sight, which is another thing that UFOs are said to do. So, you have then in India the vimanas and this whole class of different paranormal phenomena. And in the modern day and age you have the UFOs associated with different paranormal phenomena. And these phenomena in turn are reported in many different contexts, including many contexts in which you don't have a mysterious flying machine involved.
So, we seem to be dealing with a broad class of phenomena, which are paranormal in nature, but at the same time they are physical. They involve types of beings other than simply human beings and they may also involve some unusual technology, which seems to incorporate psychic effects along with purely physical effects. So, this is basically what you tend to observe.
P: One could ask a question: if those beings are...I mean they have these psychic powers and mystic powers so to speak, to manipulate matter as they like, more or less. They can go through walls and this and that. Why do they need those flying machines? I mean, why do they need technology? Like you said, somebody was proposing that they introduced those things to impress human beings or something, humanity because we are into those things. But then what about the Vedic times? Why did they need it in those times?
RLT: You can ask why the demigods would be interested in having vimanas if they can just fly to any location?
P: Yes, you could ask that too.
RLT: It would appear that the flying machine may simply make it easier to get around. In other words, you may have the power to go there using your own resources, but it may be more convenient to have a machine take you. Even if you have some mystic power and you can levitate and pass through matter and so forth, it may nonetheless require some exertion of energy and so on. And it may be convenient to have a vehicle that can take you about.
You can consider for example, the case of Kardama Muni and Devahuti. Kardama Muni had all yogic powers. So, he could have gone with Devahuti to any heavenly planet just by his yogic powers. But instead he manifested a flying palace. And so they traveled around in style. But you can say, in a way that would be more enjoyable. If you just zip there by yogic power, you're just standing there and well then you have to, you know, hold yourself up. Maybe you get tired. And then by yogic power use zip off to another place. Much better to have a floating palace with all kinds of nice paraphernalia and just go from place to place. And besides it's more aristocratic.
P: You can have some company also because...
RLT: You can have some company, you can invite people on board into your flying palace. So, you can see that there would still be a reason to have flying machines. Now, as for the UFOs, the physical evidence seems to indicate that these really are flying machines. So, it may be that there are categories of beings that have such machines and owing the present state of human culture they're showing off those machines more in dealing with us. Whereas some of the same entities centuries ago may not have done that so much.
But then again, when you go back to the Vedic period, as we understand it, people may have been in more open communication with different categories of beings. At least that's what's indicated by the Bhagavatam that different categories of beings would come to Maharaj Yudhistira’s sacrifice, for example. So beings from the airy planets would be performing certain services for the sacrifice and so on. So, it appeared that people in those days had more friendly relations with other categories of beings. So, the vimanas may also have been more commonly seen in those days. So that's a general concept.
Now, I offered a theoretical model based on all of this material and pretty much summed up the lecture with that. I suggested that there's evidence here for some kind of subtle plane of existence. Some multiverse or higher dimensional plane. This plane is inhabited by conscious beings, that is these UFO entities or whatever other kinds of beings there may be there. It appears to be more substantial than gross matter. This is a concept which I am partially taking from the Sankhya philosophy.
P: More substantial than gross matter?
RLT: Yeah, more substantial. We tend to think of ether, for example, as being insubstantial. It's just space. But that's because we're completely surrounded by it. Just like a fish deep in the ocean may not understand water because he knows nothing else. He's totally surrounded by it. So, ether actually manifests the other forms of matter: air, fire, water and earth. And those are, so to speak, just little ripple patterns on the substrate of the ether, you might say. So, the ether is actually more substantial than ordinary matter. We tend to think that ordinary matter is very substantial. But actually that's not really the case.
So, the idea is that this more subtle plane is more substantial than gross matter. It is inhabited. It may be accessible by people through altered sensory function or altered states of consciousness. In other words, it may be possible by altering one's state of consciousness to perceive these parallel realities in this other plane. From this other plane it is possible to generate forces in gross matter and to create transformations of gross matter. So, that would explain how, for example, something can materialize from this other dimension. It can temporarily assume a form in gross matter and then it can make that form disappear.
Finally, from this subtle plane, it is possible for information to be injected into the material domain. So, that actually is related to a number of different points. For example, when there is this miraculous healing, it may be that different tissues and organs are reconstructed. So that means information is introduced into the material domain to reorder these different tissues and organs and so forth. So, finally having introduced that theoretical model, I wanted to make a few points concerning the implications of this for the theory of evolution.
Now, the first point is that if these humanoid entities do exist, the UFO entities, then that certainly raises questions concerning evolution, because where did they come from? Do you want to say that they also evolved from apes, for example? It becomes a bit of a problem to explain their origin. And if you say, well, they just evolved on another planet and then try to argue that and say, “Well, they're just beings who've evolved on another planet.” But then there's the problem that they look so similar to us. And even more than that, these beings exhibit emotions that are recognizable by humans. So, that seems very strange. If they simply evolved on another planet independently from us, why would they be so similar? So, the indication is that there are problems with Darwin's theory. And of course it's another lecture. I won't go into it right now, but you can point out a lot of problems with Darwin's theory.
P: I guess, this is one of the most unique arguments against Darwin's theory.
RLT: You can say it's a unique argument. All of these phenomena argue against Darwin's theory. Darwin's theory assumes a purely mechanical model. And Darwin did that quite consciously. He was aware that people had ideas of mind as being something different from matter and so on. But he chose to reject all of that. So, his theory is purely mechanical. So, the argument can be made that if we have this other plane of existence in which there are intelligent beings who have great power compared with humans: they are able to manipulate matter within our domain, transform it in different ways. They're able to bring about apparently miraculous healing of different physical disorders and so forth. If all of this is granted to exist, then one can consider the possibility that from this platform, from the level of this other dimension, one may find the source of the origin of species.
Now, if you look at Darwin's theory, you'll see that he basically generalized from the breeding of animals by humans, where humans breed different kinds of cats and dogs and horses and so forth. He said, “Well, if human breeding acting over a short period of time can produce such remarkable results as the different breeds of animals that we see, then what would natural breeding, namely natural selection, survival of the fittest, do over many, many millions of years?” So that was his basic argument, generalizing from something that we can definitely observe to something occurring on a very large scale that we can't directly observe. So, one can argue that you might similarly generalize from the existence of the psychic healing, paranormal phenomena, UFO phenomena, and so on – which all seemed to point to intelligent action coming from some higher plane of existence – one could generalize from that, specifically from the psychic healing phenomena, to the idea that the origin of species may come about through transformations directed from another plane of existence. So, this may have a lot to say about how we got here. So...
P: How would that be consistent with the Vedic version about how things came about? Life on earth.
RLT: Yeah. Well the Vedic version of course is one of creation. But more specifically, it is a top down devolution model, you might say. You have Brahma manifesting different categories of demigods. They in turn manifest different categories of beings. You have a succession of generations and finally you have the production of species of different kinds on the earth by descent through these different categories of demigods.
Now, if a demigod produces a species on the earth from the point of view of a person with gross senses living on the earth, that species suddenly appears out of nowhere. Because the human being cannot see the demigod. The demigod in fact is existing on another plane of existence. So, if the demigod manifests within the realm of gross matter, then from the point of view of a person who can only see gross matter, it is though something suddenly comes out of nowhere.
So, that's exactly what we see in the case of a lot of these paranormal phenomena, the UFO phenomena and so on. Something suddenly pops up out of nowhere: it would appear, it does different things, and then it vanishes again. For example, UFOs are famous for operating only locally. The US government is certainly quite capable of tracking by radar the complete flight of an airplane across the United States. They can do that, but do they track UFOs going across the United States? The answer apparently is they don't. But they do have radar images of UFOs in a local area. They appear, they're registered on radar, and then they disappear. So, this idea of sudden appearance is there and that is exactly what you would see if a demigod suddenly manifested something. To the demigod, he continues to exist and now he's just doing something in the gross plane, you might say. But from the point of view of a person who can only see the gross plane, he doesn't see the existence of that demigod and to him all of a sudden something unusual starts happening in the domain of gross matter.
So, I'm proposing that a similar thing may be involved in the origin of species, as the species are produced by demigods and so forth. From the point of view of someone on the earth, you have abrupt appearance of different forms, and from the point of view of the demigods, it's merely continuity.
P: Yeah. And then you have [examples] in the scriptures of demigods interacting with humans, like demigods impregnating human women and vice versa.
RLT: Yeah. Yes, you have that. The fact that this kind of relationship can occur indicates great similarity between the human form, even though it's gross, and the demigod forms, because just consider for example, the difficulty in getting computers to communicate. It's so hard to do that if they're are manufactured by different companies and so forth. But in the case of the demigods and the humans, you find that this kind of interaction is possible. Kunti got pregnant as a result of interacting with Surya, and Karna was born and so on. So that indicates a great compatibility between the human system and the demigod system, which in turn suggests that there's some common origin. In this case, it would be that the humans are descended from the demigods.
P: But now if we bring that to the UFO. You mentioned some theories that there's spirituality involved, religion involved. But still it seems like, it's not always like those beings are very nice.
RLT: No, definitely not. They're not necessarily nice.
P: It seems to be many different involved. Different beings involved in different...
RLT: Yes, there appear to be different categories of beings. And of course you see the same thing in the Vedic accounts also – different categories of beings. You have on the one hand, Bhutas and Pretas and Pisacas and so on that are considered to be negative in character; and on the other hand, Gandharvas which would be more or less neutral.
P: And they also used to interact with the humans like Bhisma, Bhima. He got a child with the Raksasa, Hidimba.
RLT: Right. Yeah. You have those interactions going on. So, according to the Vedic system, humans and these other categories of beings are closely related. So Bhima could have a child with Hidimba. Of course, Bhima was half demigod; he was related to Vayu. So, how are these things possible unless you have some kind of standard genetic code system? So, in that case, it's like in computer language, they talk about portable code, something being ported from one platform to another. You have to have something similar with these different life forms. Even though a demigod body is very different from a human body, still the basic information patterns have to be somehow compatible or portable in that sense so that the demigod can then produce human offspring.
And then again, when you look at the UFO phenomenon, you have the reported cases of humans being impregnated and things of this nature. So, it's a similar thing. They seem to be very different from us, but at the same time they're very similar.
RLT: See, this is interesting. This is coming from the Jewish people. It's very interesting to see what's happening. The claim is made that there are codes in the Old Testament of the Bible. And the way the codes work is you start at some point and skip a certain number of letters, look at another letter, skip again to another letter and so on, skipping by a constant amount – and you find messages. Well, you may say, “Well, just by chance if you look around, you can find all kinds of messages that way and it wouldn't mean anything.” But they find rather remarkable messages in different places in the Bible. So, that has become a whole controversial topic. And people have used computers now to search for messages in the Old Testament and they found all kinds of things.
So, this mathematician in Israel decided to make a definitive test. So, he went to some encyclopedia and found information. A standard encyclopedia about all kinds of Jewish rabbis and holy men and so on who lived in the Middle Ages. So he got biographical information on them, their names, and where they were born, the date of birth or the date of death is the case may be and so on. So, then he did a computer search. The way he did this is he divided the information into two parts. I think the simplest thing is you take the man's name and you take the date associated with him, let's say the date of his death. So you make a list in two columns with the names and the dates. And you search in the Old Testament to find these things; name paired with date. And you see how many you find. Then what you do to test this result; you scramble the dates relative to the names. That is, you keep the name column the same and you just switch the dates around at random and then you search for those.
P: The names?
RLT: The name-date combinations with the wrong dates.
P: The random combinations.
RLT: Just aligned at random. Now, if what you're finding is just by chance and that it's something you're likely to find if you search long enough through a long text, then it shouldn't matter whether the dates are arranged correctly with the names or not. If they're arranged at random, you should get just as good results on the average. So, he would then check using the computer to see if the cases where the random arrangement next to the names would give results as good as the case with the real alignment of dates with names and he found that overwhelmingly that wasn’t the case. If you look for the correct arrangements of names and dates, you find lots of them embedded in the Old Testament. If you take the ones that are random, you don't find them.
P: You mean that is coded for that you read every second or every third letter or something like that?
RLT: Yeah. Like you say, okay, we'll go every seventh letter starting at this point, or every 24th letter starting at this point and so on.
P: Then you found like predictions of people who would appear in the future? The names and...
RLT: Yeah, because everyone will agree that the text of the Old Testament dates back at least to such and such century. Yeah, it's quite far back. So, all these fellows who lived subsequently have their names and dates embedded in the text. So that's far out.
P: I can say so.
RLT: But what I want to do is communicate with this mathematician who did this work and ask him, "Well, what do you think of my statistics for these orbit correlations and so on?" because he's dealing with a similar thing. I'm also so to speak, finding codes in the Bhagavatam, you could say.
Yadunandan [translated from the Danish]: Your host and studio engineer was Yadunandan das. Thanks and until next time, Hare Krishna.