UFOs – real or psychic phenomenon?

The following relates UFO phenomena to the whole of paranormal phenomena and supplies comparisons to suggest that the style and behavior of UFO phenomena are well within the parameters of paranormal phenomena in general.

Given that the evidence for authenticity of the many paranormal reports (including UFO's) is overwhelming, this paper explores what kind of `reality' would accommodate such phenomena. These explorations suggest a `reality' that seems unstable and fantastical at its basic level, a fact that scientists of the new physics are still trying, unsuccessfully, to comprehend.

The conclusion is disturbing in that it suggests that mind and matter are fundamentally interwoven into one another; so much so, that at a certain level there seems to be no way of discerning what is objectively real from what is a manifestation of the paranormal/collective unconscious realm.

The UFO phenomenon became an international interest in the late 1940's after nine shining discs flying in a V formation were sighted by businessman Kenneth Arnold while piloting his private aircraft over Washington State on June 24, 1947.

After this both civilians and military personnel reported many other sightings of similar objects. There were thousands of sightings from then on, and now, in the United States alone, there are over one million reports of UFO abductions every year.

But the UFO phenomenon remains a paradox. On the one hand there are the massive number of reports from respected people from all sections of society, on the other, the lack of a solitary scrap of physical proof of UFO or alien encounters.

True, there are the few blurry photographs and blips on radar, etc., but nothing, it seems, that would hold up in court as proof. As Carl Jung pointed out in his book, Flying Saucers: “Considering the notorious camera-mindedness of Americans, it is surprising how few `authentic' photographs of UFOs seem to exist, especially as many of them are said to be observed for several hours at relatively close quarters.”

Jung asked a friend of his who had, along with many others, witnessed a UFO why he had not photographed it with his camera; his friend replied that he had not thought of it.

It seems that the evidence for UFOs is as elusive as the evidence for paranormal phenomena in general (eg. ghosts, poltergeists, séances, psychic surgery etc.). The anecdotal evidence for these paranormal happenings is vast, and witnesses and subjects also include persons of high standing in society with nothing to gain in fabricating stories (eg, scientists, doctors, priests, police-officers etc.).

The first similarity of UfO encounters and paranormal phenomena is in the elusive quality of physical evidence. The anecdotal evidence of paranormal phenomena is greater, even, than UFO evidence. A survey of the National Opinions Research Council in the USA found that two thirds of Americans have had paranormal experiences. While one out of ten Americans claim to have witnessed UFO phenomena, and currently over 80% of Americans surveyed believe UFO's are real.

Investigators of UFO phenomena encounter the same path of irrationality and absurd behavior of the entities (aliens) involved, as do investigators of the paranormal.

A theory is proposed for the phenomena and then more unusual evidence is uncovered, the “theory is then expanded slightly”, Colin Wilson writes, “to try to accommodate the problem - at which point some new anomaly makes its appearance ... And so on, until it is clear that no purely rational theory can accommodate all the facts”.

Colin Wilson, an experienced writer on the paranormal reflects that most investigators are, “moved from the position of open minded skeptic to that of a thoroughly confused believer in the paranormal.”


But there is more in common between UFO and paranormal phenomena than just the investigators exasperation, and the occurrence in Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917 is a good example of the UFO/paranormal crossover. Three children were playing in a meadow near Fatima when they saw a shining globe of light. A women’s voice then spoke from it, but only two of the children heard it although all three saw it - suggesting that what they heard and saw was in their minds and not objectively real.

Once a month over the next few months the “Lady of the Rosary”, as the entity called herself, reappeared to the children at the same spot. Word spread and more and more people came to witness the event, although only the children could see and hear the entity.

The children were told by the entity that on the 13th of October she would provide a miracle to convince the world of her truth. Seventy thousand people gathered on the day to await the miracle. Suddenly the rain clouds parted and a huge silver disc descended towards the crowd. The disc behaved in classic UFO tradition by changing direction suddenly as if unaffected by gravity, and by changing color through the spectrum.

Many other people witnessed the disc from their homes as it performed. The heat of the object dried the wet clothes of the crowd and after ten minutes it shot back into the clouds.

This example reveals an incident that began as a psychic/paranormal experience by the three children to end as a classic UFO event witnessed by over seventy thousand people.

What are we to make of this? The “Lady of the Rosary” certainly convinced the seventy thousand people of her existence, but for what? She imparted no great message for human kind, other than she existed. In following many investigations about the paranormal and UFO's for many years, and in my own investigations there seems to be something fishy (for want of a better word) about where one is lead and what information the entities give.

The Nine

Doctor Andrya Puharich, a scientist who started life as a nerve specialist, became interested in the relatively mild paranormal phenomenon of telepathy. He wrote “Beyond Telepathy” (1974) which became an important book in the field of parapsychology.

However, his investigations lead him into a strange involvement with supposed alien beings. While visiting Puharich, Dr D.G. Vinoid, a Hindu scholar, fell into a trance and relayed messages from “The Nine” who explained themselves as super intelligences whose purpose was to help the human race. To those experienced in séances this type of contact would not be taken very seriously - there are entities notoriously known for trickery, which are known by all who practice séances throughout the world as the “Jokers”.

I have come across “Jokers” many times in my own experience. They seem to be entities out for a good time and get their kicks pretending to be all sorts of beings with the apparent aim to “suck in” us humans. Puharich had no experience in this area and therefore felt privileged and anxiously awaited further contact.

What was to follow was to bewilder Puharich and eventually had him running around the Middle East with a small group of co-devotees, holding séances and praying for peace, after Tom - one of the space beings of the Nine - had told them to do so.

Of course, Tom, through séances, periodically reassured them that they had just saved human kind. In 1971, Puhriach had met with Uri Geller the Israeli psychic.

He watched Geller perform many amazing feats, including mind reading. One time Puharich was with Geller when Geller fell into trance and told Puharich that at the age of three he had been wakened by a spacecraft which then knocked him down with a beam of light. While Geller was still in a trance Puharich heard a metallic voice speak from above Gellers head, which informed him that Geller had been programmed by the Nine at the age of three to help the Nine avert an immensely destructive war.

In the events that followed the Nine made UFOs appear overhead, stopped and started cars, teleported objects - including Geller, and even more bizarre things that Puharich and Geller decided to keep to themselves for fear of ridicule. Puharich's book Uri: A Journal of the Mystery of Uri Geller, which included the events before mentioned, was ridiculed for its preposterous content and was unsuccessful.

So it is clear that the UFO phenomenon, when looked into at depth, is more complicated than just the notion of visiting space beings. The Fatima episode which, began as a paranormal/psychic experience of just the children, became a UFO event witnessed by many.

Puharich and Geller and many others experience of the paranormal is intertwined with UFO phenomena. Séances and mediums channel space beings, observers watch as one UFO mysteriously divides into two and vice-versa. Many abductees recall their experience with aliens as a trance-like experience. There seems no possibility, let alone necessity, to separate paranormal phenomena from UFO phenomena, both seem entwined in a bewildering menagerie that seems to have no purpose.

All we can be sure of is that something is going on and it involves our minds perhaps more than objective reality. As Whitley Stiebar, the true-life abductee in the film “Communion”, wrote: “Something is here, be it a message from the stars or from the labyrinth of the mind... or from both... And we will all go down the labyrinth, to meet whatever meets us there.”

There are many more accounts from respectable sceptics turned bewildered believers that I have not the space in this paper to write about:

John Keel, a UFO skeptic until he investigated UFO's, and where his investigations led him to experiences of space entities that predicted the assassination of Martin Luther King, a planned attack of Robert Kennedy, of messages from alien entities waiting at a hotel Keel had picked at random; F.W.Holiday, a naturalist who set out to disprove the existence of the Loch Ness monster and ended up in a paranormal labyrinth of events that included a visitation from a “man in black”; and another episode which I will expound on briefly - crop circles.

Crop circles

The crop circle phenomenon began in August 1980 in Wiltshire, Britain. The first circles were sixty feet in diameter flattening the crop in a clockwise direction. There was no sign of human involvement. Various natural explanations were posited for them, but then new crop circles would promptly appear to contradict the explanations. The media became interested when circles began to appear near Warminster, where there had been many UFO sightings.

In 1983 a “five-some” of circles were proved to be a hoax paid for by the Daily Mirror, which elated the skeptics. But the Fortean Times magazine reported the tell-tale signs of human intervention which were not present in the original circles.

After this things started to get ridiculous. There were circles with larger rings outside them; three rings in a perfect triangle pattern; Celtic crosses; and double circles with for symmetrical ones in their outer rims. A circle “expert”, Dr Terence Meaden explained the rings as an “electromagnetic plasma vortex”, but then a circle that exactly contradicted his theory promptly appeared.

Also, when UFO enthusiasts said the circles were made by UFO landings, a circle quickly appeared under low power lines were such a landing would be impossible. It seemed that the crop circles were behaving like poltergeists (German for noisy ghosts) which show equal enthusiasm to set right misinformation said about them.

“Cereologists”, as crop circle experts call themselves, point out that the circles seemed to respond to the human mind, as when an aerial photographer photographing the circles said that he would like to see one in the form of a Celtic cross, and the very next day a Celtic cross appeared over the spot where he was flying when he made the statement.Crop Circles: Signs of Contact

Around 1990 the crop circles evolved into even more complexity, and began to look like ancient pictograms. In the 1990 book The Crop Circle Enigma, John Mitchell writes:

“Like many other Cereologists, and like Keel, Shuttlewood and ufologists before them, they admit that their lives, minds and outlooks have been radically changed by their investigations...

On one level the change is philosophical; after honest appraisal of ufology and crop circle data, it is impossible to maintain the rationalistic worldview on which modern science and education are founded.

One is lead into unfamiliar channels of thought, which point away from structures theories and hard and fast beliefs towards a more mystical view of reality and, eventually, towards the greater mysteries of divinity and the living universe.

“...There is little doubt, especially as the astonishing events of 1990 continue to unfold, that the pattern in the corn have a meaning, and the meaning of such things is to be found in the way people are effected by them.

Jung discerned the meaning of UFO's as agents or portents of changes in human thought and human thought patterns, and that function has clearly bean inherited by crop circles, which are a continuation - a solidification, one might say - of the UFO phenomenon... Judging by what has happened so far, there seems to be every justification for extending Jung's characterisation of UFO's to crop circles, and thus for regarding them as signs of ‘great changes to come which are compatible with the end of an era’”.

Having established that UFO and paranormal phenomena appear to have the same origin, the question to ask is: why do such phenomena exist? The answer is not in the literal meaning of such phenomena, for example, the Nine lead Puharich on a “wild goose chase” and the spirits contacted through séances have no great message of the after life, and are content just to fool around.

But as the psychiatrist Carl Jung pointed out, the existence alone of the phenomena must be of great importance: “...if [the UFO phenomenon] is a case of psychological projection, there must be a psychic cause for it. One can hardly suppose that anything of such worldwide incidence of the UFO legend is purely fortuitous and of no importance whatever.”

As the Cereologist John Mitchel pointed out, “the meanings are in the way people are effected by them”. The meaning of UFO's and the paranormal is not in their literal existence, their meaning is their effect on human beings. In other words UFO and Paranormal phenomena stand as sign posts to show human beings that “there is more to the world than is dreamt of in [their] philosophy”.

Who is pulling the strings?

But what agent is behind the phenomena? Who is pulling the strings? The answer seems to be that it is our own unconscious minds.

Jung recognised this from his experience with his patients, where if something was being repressed in the unconscious it would be revealed to consciousness in the form of projection.

In studying UFO phenomena Jung realised in concordance with Aime' Michel, that “UFOs are mostly seen by people who do not believe in them or regard the whole problem with indifference.” Jung remarks that this gives the witness “an air of particular credibility”, as it is the more rational and practical people who are encountered by UFOs.

But it is these very people, the practical, down to earth people who are the most in danger of closing their minds off to other possibilities of reality and personal existence/ evolution. If the unconscious creates UFO and psychic phenomena in order to keep the conscious-self open minded so as to widen and evolve, then it is no wonder that the people who have a limited view of reality are targeted. As Jung noted:

In just these cases the unconscious has to resort to particularly drastic measures in order to make its contents perceived... Under these circumstances it would not be at all surprising if these sections of the community who ask themselves nothing were visited by ‘visions’, that is, by a wide spread myth seriously believed in by some and rejected as absurd by others.

Eyewitnesses of unimpeachable honesty therefore announce the ‘signs in the heavens’ which they have seen ‘with their own eyes’, and the marvellous things they have experienced which pass human understanding.”

If human consciousness creates UFO and psychic phenomena, how does it do this, and what’s more, what type of “reality” would allow the power of the unconscious to make crop circles and make radar blips, etc?

The answer to this has always been known by mystics and is now something that science is coming, uncomfortably, face to face with in quantum mechanics (i.e. the notion that mind is part of the material universe). In other words, matter and mind are fundamentally interwoven; the universe is not a dead mechanistic system; the universe is living.

A living universe

What indications are there for a living universe? Physicist Brian O'Leary gives us some clues:

“We have the anthropic principal which states that the universe is here because we are here: a randomly developing universe could not accommodate us. We have the matter - energy equivalence principle which states that matter is stored energy following the formula E=mc2.

We have Bell's theorem which proposes that each of any two particles that have previously interacted `know what the other is doing even after they separate.'”

Bell's theorem is particularly interesting because Johns Bell has proved the theory in his Calcite Crystal experiments. The experiment splits a light beam into two and then refracts one of the pair of beams (photon particles) with crystals.

The other of the pair behaves as if it “knows” instantly what the other is doing. Not only does this experiment contradict Einstein's relativity (information between the particles is shared instantly, therefore faster than light) but also, it reveals that the basic building blocks of the universe show indications of a telepathic type of connection which we normally attribute to minds.

David Suzuki showed the crystal experiment on a television program titled Connections: “The Mysteries of mind”. In the same program he also revealed an experiment at Princeton University where psychogenesis (the manipulation of matter by the mind) was proved using an electronic coin flipper and subjects chosen at random by the University. Suzuki concluded, “One must then ask if the basic physical modeling of the universe is correct.”

Considering the proof available of things like psychokinesis and the mindful behaviour of elementary particles, why has not mainstream science embraced this knowledge and thus re-evaluate our basic concept of existence?

The answer could be that science is like a religion that is strictly atheistic, and anything that may indicate that their dead universe is actually alive is met with their literal fear of God. Richard Grossinger expounds:

“...The so called professionals continue to falsify experience - their own as well as ours - in the name of truth and the protection of innocent people. The more fervent of them are organized into skeptic groups, which send out licensed scientists and magicians to debunk the mind - matter crossover and paranormal phenomena in general. These people are not concerned with the potential of the human race.

Like the oil cartel and the inside arbitragers, they have too much at stake to see their activities with any perspective. They are addicted to their views of reality.”

A Quasi - reality

I have in this paper taken a somewhat conservative approach in revealing the phenomena of the mind - matter crossover. There are many more poignant and more bizarre examples, and if the reader is interested in these, The Romeo Error A Matter of Life and Death, by Lyall Watson is full of weird experiments and reports.

But we have enough evidence to reveal that mind and matter are capable of integration, and in the case of UFO and paranormal phenomena mind and matter integrate with bizarre outcomes. Put bluntly, it seems that our unconscious minds, collectively and individually, are involved in creating a Quasi - reality with the purpose of keeping our conscious minds open to possibilities so that we may evolve and not atrophy into a closed minded, indifferent consciousness.

It also seems that this Quasi -reality is not all illusionary, but as the crop circles, radar blips, radiation burns of UFO witnesses, and poltergeist activity reveal, there is an actual physical effect from this Quasi - reality.

What is disturbing about all this is the question, how do we know what is objectively real and what is a product of the unconscious mind-matter crossover? The answer is that we don't. UFO's may indeed objectively exist, but we may never know until perhaps there is massive integration between an alien planet and our own.

If people use the present evidence as proof of the physical existence of UFO's, then they would have to accept that ghosts, fairies, Loch Ness monsters and the whole panoply of paranormal entities objectively exist, because the proof is the same.

William Henderson

Greely, Andrew,`The Impossible: Its Happening', American Heath: Fitness of Body and Mind, Jan- Feb., 1987.

Michell, John,`The Crop Circle Enigma.', Thames & Hudson, London, 1990.

O`Leary, Brian,`Exploring Inner and Outer Space', North Atlantic Books, California, 1987.

Puharich, Andrija,`Beyond Telepathy', Robinson Publishing, London, 1974

Striebar, Whitley,`Transformation', Morrow, New York, 1988.

Suzuki, David, TV program Connections: `The Mysteries of the Mind', Canada, 1994.

Wilson, Colin, `The Giant Book of the Supernatural', Magpie books, Ltd, London, 1994.

W.H. 2002
Footnote: My own sighting of a UFO.

As the above article suggests I am inclined to think that UFO's are a product of our collective unconscious. I have even seen a ufo myself, so I thought I would describe my sighting here for anyone that is interested.

It was about 3am, 1981, an especially clear night. The location was normal suburbia, Adelaide, South Australia. I was leaning against my car talking to a friend outside his house. When I happened to look up. And there, at a height of about 40,000 feet, were the lights of a gigantic aircraft/ufo. I was good at gauging heights and sizes of aircraft as I was at the time training as a professional pilot, and we were trained to gauge such things. I urged my friend to look and he and I watched this craft for about 15 minutes.

Description: Because it was dark, we could only see the lights of the craft. The lights were arranged in a triangle, or rather an arrowhead or boomerang shape. The lights were revolving as the craft moved suggesting that it was rotating. Again, this was a massive craft, I would estimate that it was a good 800 to 1000 feet across.


As we watched it slowly moved across the sky following what seemed and proved to be deliberate vectors. If I had payed more attention to the vectors the craft traced in the night sky I could have drawn a definite pattern. It moved in a line then changed direction to instantly move along another line. There was no arc of turn that an man made aircraft would make, it was an unnatural abrupt change in direction, or vectoring. After it had traced these vectors across an area of sky at least a mile square, it then dropped lower, quite rapidly, to about half the hight that it was at previously, so about 20,000 feet. It then retraced the exact pattern, but in almost lightening speed! The abrupt, instant changes in direction were the same but at such a speed that I have never seen before. The G forces on the craft would have turned a human to mush. Even more than this, it moved at such a speed, at almost instant acceleration, that there is nothing man has made then or since that can make those maneuvers, in either manned or unmanned aircraft. And then at a speed and acceleration that I could only describe as accelerating to light speed in about a quarter of a second, this massive craft shot straight up, into space and was gone.

My friend,

who, later became a science lecturer at university was a total skeptic about everything, including UFO's. After the discussion about the sight we had just witnessed, during which he was almost silent. I asked him, "so do you believe in UFO's now?" To which he replied, begrudgingly, "I will admit that I saw something, but I will not say what it was I saw." Which frustrated me, and was to set the tone whenever I came up against scientists or skeptics. There seems to be nothing that will convince the die hard scientists about anything paranormal, or not of this world. My friend had just witnessed an amazing display of a UFO and he even then could not admit it. Many times in during my life I have been attacked by scientists for daring to consider anything out of the ordinary. On a science forum I made a post about telepathy only to be abused by every other post. One Scientist asked me for proof, to which I sent him several references and experiments conducted by Princton University following proper scientific method. His reply was: "were is the proof?" It was as if he was blind to reality. There is none so blind as those who will not see.


So, was my sighting a real physical UFO, or a apparition from the collective unconscious? I am inclined to think the latter, here are my reasons. The UFO appeared above a large metropolitan area, with its lights blazing! Now if we consider the amount of good photographs or video of UFO,s taken over the past 60 years since UFO's became a phenomenon, there are very few... very, very few. This logically suggests the UFO's do not want to be seen. If they didn't care the evening news would have caught one maneuvering over a major city by now. But, If they don't want to be seen, why do they turn on their lights above a major populace? It could be argued that their lights are needed for propulsion, but still, this one was doing the tango above a city! To me it just doesn't add up. As Carl Jung's studies suggested, UFO encounters seem to happen to those folk who have closed their minds to other possibilities and the UFO phenomena is our collective unconsciousness's way of reminding those who need it, to keep an open mind. My friend was a die hard skeptic. If anyone needed a wedge in the door of their closed mind, he did. The shape of the lights were a boomerang shape, over Australia where boomerangs were invented. It could well of been a real nuts and bolts UFO, and on a deep level I want it to have been. But the evidence seems to suggest an apparition.

Interestingly, if by chance it was a real UFO, the vector manouvers could have been a way for this craft to chart a course at close to light speeds. Or even a method of creating a wormhole to spacewarp away.