A little over a year ago I did a post on three books from the Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown series. I decided to come back to the series and to read both of its books on aliens. The UFO Phenomenon was published first, and Alien Encounters repeats quite a lot of the same information, but there is a slight distinction in the subject matter. The UFO Phenomenon deals fairly specifically with… UFOs, while Alien Encounters looks more at abductions and contact. I was again impressed by the quality of this series. These books are lovely; they look and feel great, and they are surprisingly in depth. If you can find a complete set for a reasonable price, make sure to pick it up.
UFOs exist. There have definitely been, and presumabably still are, things in the sky that have not been identified. That these objects harbour alien beings from other planets is far less certain. I try to keep an open mind about this kind of stuff. I have no problem believing in the likelihood that there is life on other planets, but the idea that those lifeforms could reach Earth is too much for me to accept. My knowledge of space travel is extremely limited, but I understand that the closest planets that could possibly support life are simply too far away for their inhabitants to ever bother coming here.
The UFO book was cool; I have read lots of other books about ancient alien theories and specific alien encounters, but I didn’t know much about the history of UFOs. It was interesting to see how the flying saucer turned an American cultural icon
I sometimes ponder over how modern technology has affected the acceptability of evidence of alien life on/around Earth. Nearly everyone has constant access to a camera these days, and there is no excuse not to document the spacecraft that are abducting us. At the same time, any form of digital media is susceptible to quick, easy and convincing editing. Not only that, but our skies are now so full of drones and other human made machines that we soon won’t bother to question what’s in the sky… This indifference will leave us vulnerable to external threats… In fact, the more I think about it, the more likely it seems that the aliens deliberately gave our governments their technology in an attempt to lead us into this complacency. We’re falling into their trap! Fuck it. All eyes to the skies!
The above picture is of a famous alien corpse known as Tomato Man. (I have digitally enhanced it for full effect.) The original photo looks like a burned pile of rubbish to me. Some people have wondered how the glasses frames right underneath the alien’s shoulder got mixed up in the debris of an crashed spaceship.
One of most fascinating things about UFOs and aliens are the people that worship them. One particular group, the Unarians, pop up a few times in these books. I had seen some bizarre videos about the Unarius Academy of Science on youtube years ago, and their appearance here convinced me to research them further. It turns out that they don’t believe in imagination. All imagined thoughts are actually memories of past lives. All science fiction is true. Star Wars is real.
The Unarians were led by a lady named Ruth Norman who claimed to be the latest reincarnation of the entity who had previously lived as the Archangel Uriel, Isis, Peter the Great, queen Elizabeth the first, Johannes Kepler, Buddha, Zoroaster, Emperor Charlemagne, Quetzalcoatl, the Dalai Lama, King Arthur and many other aliens and mythical characters. Ruth preached that the space brothers (friendly aliens) were going to descend to Earth and teach us their ways, but she died before this happened.
Uriel, the Legend.
There’s a decent documentary on the Unarians called Children of the Stars that can be viewed here. It doesn’t criticize or question their beliefs; it merely presents them. The documentary goes on a bit too long, but it’s worth watching just to see how mental these people are. Here is the trailer if you are only a little interested, and if you’re super interested, here is Jello Biafra’s documentary on the same group of people.
There’s definitely similarities with the Church of Scientology (although the Unarians deny that they are a religious organization), but unlike L. Ron Hubbard, Uriel genuinely seems to believe her own nonsense. I think she was pretty cool.
This silly looking gobshite also appears in the book. I noticed his interesting necklace and decided to google him. When an image popped up of the same lad in a white suit, I realized that I had seen him before. His name is Claude Vorilhon, but he calls himself Raël, and he claims to be the messenger of the Elohim (alien creators of humanity).
He appeared on the Late Late Show when I was a kid. I remember being very unimpressed by him talking about how Jesus had been an alien. (My, how the times have changed!) The interview stuck in my head, and I’ve only recently thought of looking him up, but I didn’t know his name. Once I discovered his name, I did another quick search and I found footage from one of his earlier appearances on the same show! Normally I dislike when talkshow hosts needlessly talk down to their ‘weirdo’ guests, but I have to say, Gaybo’s swarminess is actually pretty funny here. Apparently Raël wasn’t too upset by it anyway; he went on to appear on the same show two more times. (Unfortunately those episodes are not currently online.)
A 5 year old drew this, and some people took it as evidence that aliens abducted him.
Reading these books, I wondered how often they were consulted by the writers of the X-Files. The Mysteries of the Unknown series were released between 1987 and 1991. The first episode of the X-Files was written in 1992. I find it hard to believe that some of the ideas for the show weren’t lifted directly from these pages. Just reading over the titles in the series, I’m able to think of specific episodes that refer to the content of nearly each book. In saying that, each of these books presents a fairly comprehensive overview of its topic, and if the X-Files writers weren’t taking their ideas from here, they were certainly getting them from more specific texts on the same topics. All of the mythology episodes (at least up to season 6) could easily have stemmed from the ideas in the two books I have just reviewed. We’re talking alien abductions, disinformation, alien human hybrids, implants, government conspiracies… all that great X-Filesy stuff.
Also, speaking of influencing hit TV series; check this out. There’s a small section at the end of The UFO Phenomenon that called to a mind a more recent science fiction show:
Stranger Things, anyone?
I’ll leave you with this. It’s an image of some unfortunates being tormented by demons. It was included in a section on the book proposing that aliens could be the modern equivalent to demons. The similarity being drawn here is that aliens, like demons, have been known to probe their victims. Check out the demon in the bottom left corner. Observe his calm demeanour.
“In and out, I’ll lance her clout, Hi-Ho! Hi-Ho! Hi-Ho! Hi-Ho!”
5 thoughts on “I WANT TO BELIEVE – Alien Encounters and The UFO Phenomenon”
Great article! I remember these books. They were pretty hokey, but well done and fun to look at.
I believe it was Neil DeGrasse Tyson who observed how telling it is that since hubcaps have gone out of style on cars and everyone now carries a high-quality camera in their pocket, there are so many fewer photos of “UFOs” than there used to be–when, if they were actually real, the exact opposite would be true!
I grew up with these books. I need to find them again.
Sean reminds me of the time a kid from my high school threw a tennis ball into the air, took a picture, and turned it in to our small-town paper as a UFO photo. They totally published it.
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Have you ever seen a book series similar to this but with silver / grey binding?
When i was in Jr High back in 1987-1989 the school library has a set of these but i cant find them or remember what the name of the series is. I remember one story about a person having a psychic ability to see microscopic things, and another about a demon leaving a footprint (hoofprint?) in a forest in England
Dunno. Maybe the collected editions of Man, Myth and Magic?
No idea. All i really remember for certain was the hard back silver covers