Some Thoughts on Ultraterrestrials

What are Ultraterrestrials? Let’s face it, you’ve gotta have somewhere to move that goalpost.

Before you think I’m knocking the idea out of hand, here me out, I have some serious thoughts on John Keel’s idea of ultraterrestrials proposed in his 1970 book UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse.

John Keel was a prominent UFO researcher and writer, noted author of The Mothman Prophecies which tells the tale of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, bedeviled by strange paranormal experiences and flying creature sightings in November of 1966.

Some people claim these events served as a foreshadowing of the collapse of the Silver Bridge in December of 1967, more than a year after the spate of weirdness. One would think that if some higher power were going to warn of impending disaster they should use a more coherent means. And why include a flying winged humanoid?

But I digress. In his book UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, John Keel presents the concept of an “intelligence source” as a possible explanation for the UFO phenomenon.

Keel suggests that this intelligence source may originate from different dimensions or parallel realities, and employs sophisticated psychological techniques to intentionally manipulate human perception and beliefs.

According to Keel, this intelligence has been interacting with humanity throughout history, assuming different forms to suit the beliefs and cultural context of the time, apparently in an effort to propagate certain belief systems. In his book he proposes that ghosts, vampires, demons, fairies, airship sightings and even UFOs, were all orchestrated by some ultraterrestrial intelligence, or intelligences, for unknown reasons.

Why would Keel feel the need to assume a metaphysical or spiritual origin of some “intelligence” with an elaborate plan to dupe humanity across many civilizations and centuries of existence?

That’s where the proverbial goalpost comes in. In the 1960s and 1970s scientists and researchers, such as Carl Sagan, began emphasizing the challenges posed by interstellar travel and the immense distances between stars. This concept became a central theme in the scientific debate surrounding the possibility of alien visitation and has continued to be a key consideration in discussions about the feasibility of such encounters.

Humans believe all kinds of things. The human mind seeks to make sense of the world, leading to cognitive biases and pattern-seeking tendencies that may interpret unexplained phenomena as evidence for these beliefs. Cultural influences, personal experiences, and social reinforcement also play a significant role in shaping these beliefs, providing comfort, explanations, or a sense of belonging to individuals who subscribe to them.

Combine the human penchant for belief with the tendency to misidentify something, or give in to groupthink, and we really don’t need to assume that there is some exterior intelligence messing with us. We do it well enough on our own.

As far as John Keel is concerned, and not to knock his journalistic prowess or body of work, he was an imaginative man who found a way to make a living by the old dictum “Don’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story.”

HOWEVER… Now that my cynical, skeptical side has had its say, I must admit that we can’t rule out the idea of other dimensions or planes of being. In the world of theoretical physics higher dimensions are, well, theoretical. Look, we humans have come a long way, but we have to admit that we really don’t know everything.

I’m no scientist, I’m just curious, as I’m sure you are. While there are a gazillion things we don’t know, there are a lot of things we do know; about how the human mind works for instance. We have a pretty good grasp on that. We understand that humans believe things, and more importantly want to believe things. But since we haven’t proven the existence of other dimensions, let alone ultraterrestrials, it’s safe to say that, right now, it’s unlikely there is more going on than just plain old human belief and credulousness.

We need people like John Keel to explore other possibilities, it makes for fun conversation, and it can be entertaining, but we should always keep a skeptical head about things.

Right now the science is out on ultraterrestrials, but it’s been in on human behavior for a long time.