by Charles H. Roberts
Former President Jimmy Carter once told of a meeting he had while a student at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Carter had applied for training in nuclear powered submarines, and as a result, had to face a rigorous interview with the late Admiral Hiram G. Rickover. Rickover was known to be an intimidating and “no-nonsense,” tough-as-nails leader. During the interview, he asked Carter what his class standing was at the Academy. When Carter told him, he fully expected some sort of congratulations, but instead, Rickover asked him, “Did you do your best?”
Carter said that he thought long and hard, and honestly answered, “No sir, I did not always do my best.” Carter recounts that Admiral Rickover looked at him straight in the eyes for what seemed to be an eternity, and then, slowly turned his chair around to end the interview. Carter said that Rickover asked him one, final question that he never forgot. “Why not?”
If the reader will allow me to draw from that striking story to make a point, I would ask you, when it comes to your interest and study of anomalous phenomena, have you sought to inform yourself from the best sources? Have you made a point of consulting the best and most reputable and reliable writers and researchers? For example, when you read a book on UFOs, abduction phenomena, conspiracies, or other IRAAP related issues, have you always sought the best of what is out there in the vast ocean of books, magazines, and videos? If not, why not?
An area in which there is a plethora of books and magazine articles is that of UFO studies. But not all the books and articles are written by reputable researchers and authors and very often, the best goes unread or unnoticed. In terms of UFO writing and research, one of the best authors is French astro-physicist Jacques Vallée.
Dr. Vallée has been involved in research and writing about UFOs and related phenomena since the mid-1960’s. His first book,
Anatomy of a Phenomenon, is considered to be one of the most scholarly books on UFOs ever written. Astute readers may be aware that in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Frenchman La Combe (played by Francois Truffaut) was modeled on the life and career of Jacques Vallée.
Dr. Vallée worked closely with the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who for a time served with the Air Force’s Project Blue Book. Hynek later repudiated much of that work as an attempt by the Air Force to debunk otherwise inexplicable UFO reports, and his own major book on the subject,
The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry is also considered to be a masterful and highly regarded study. It was in that book that Hynek coined the phrase “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” And speaking of the motion picture by that name, trivia buffs may be interested to learn that Dr. Hynek actually had a “walk-on” role in the film!
Jacques Vallée’s reputation and popularity has waned somewhat in the UFO community, even though he now lives in the U.S. and is still writing on the subject. After conducting hundreds of interviews and investigations, and after having traveled the world in search of the truth about UFOs, he has come to some rather startling conclusions. Some of his conclusions have not been popular in the UFO community, and he has dared question some of the most cherished icons of UFO orthodoxy. This is one reason for his lack of popularity. Rather than promote the marginal and sensational side of the UFO studies, he has preferred a measured, well reasoned, and deeply probing scientific / philosophical approach. Here is a sample of his current thinking about the nature, origin, and reality of UFOs:
“The UFO Phenomenon exists. It has been with us throughout history. It is physical in nature and it remains unexplained in terms of contemporary science. It represents a level of consciousness that we have not yet recognized, and which is also able to manipulate dimensions beyond time and space as we understand them” (from Forbidden Science, 1992).
For those who prefer to believe in benevolent space brothers who are coming to earth in ships to take humanity to the next level of evolution, or usher in a new age of peace, love, and harmony, such thinking is not often welcome.
Vallée has been boldly going where no Ufologist has gone before since the 1979 publication of his groundbreaking book,
Messengers of Deception. In this book Vallée chronicled the rise of contactees and cults (among others, he describes “The Two” a.k.a. “Bo and Peep.” One of “The Two” was the late Marshall Applewhite of the Heaven’s Gate group). What Vallée found most significant about contactees and their followers was not so much the alleged alien presence, but rather the ways in which both individual and collective lives were being radically altered by such encounters.
His conclusion: the real issue is not so much “where do these things come from?” but “what are these things doing to human culture and society?” Vallée argued that someone or something is trying to completely change how humanity has understood and defined itself for over three millennia. He was not prepared to say who or what they are.
Hopefully, this small taste of Vallée’s ideas and insights will spur the more enterprising readers to pursue his writings further. A search of Amazon.com will provide the interested reader with an excellent list of Vallée’s currently in-print books. You can read a deeply fascinating and challenging set of interviews with Vallée about his life, work, and current thinking on UFOs on the internet at Conspire.com.
[NOTE: this link no longer works]
In closing, let me ask you this question: when all is said and done, have you done your best to educate yourself on the subject of UFOs from the best sources? If not, why not? The writings of Dr. Jacques Vallée are a good place to start!