News coverage of the recent O’Hare UFO – this sighting with the added frisson of multiple credible witnesses and FOIA-extracted proof of a government cover-up – has fallen into a predictable pattern. The story is always introduced with a chuckle, as though to suggest “don’t worry, we’re not actually taking this seriously,” and the assumption is always made that whatever was seen must either be
- a) some perfectly familiar and ordinary phenomenon misidentified, or
- b) an alien spaceship.
Hence all the jokes: “Who would fly a million light-years just to land at O’Hare?”
Indeed the term “UFO” has virtually come to mean “extraterrestrial spacecraft” (as when people ask “do you believe in UFOs?” or inquire of some anomalous sighting “was it a UFO?” – clearly the term is well on its way to becoming a dead acronym, in a sense analogous to a dead metaphor); thus language is once more pressed into the service of foreclosing alternatives.
Yet alternatives of course there are. Just to name three, UFOs might be:
- c) some unfamiliar natural phenomenon not yet understood, perhaps electromagnetic in nature;
- d) parapsychological phenomena along the lines suggested by Jacques Vallee and Kenneth Ring (and earlier, Carl Jung);
- e) secret experimental military aircraft.
And probably there are more possibilities. I hold no particular brief for any of (c), (d), and (e); nor do I claim they’re especially likely. Then again, (a) and (b) aren’t especially likely either – indeed, those two strike me as the least likely of the five.
But I don’t have any particular UFO theory. As long, however, as the prevailing attitude toward UFOs remains a mix of embarrassed titters on the one hand and fantastic visions of space invaders on the other – as long as the aliens-or-nothing paradigm prevails – serious investigation of the UFO phenomenon will continue to be minimal.
Which might be just the way our rulers want it, especially if something like (e) is the truth. (Indeed, cynical-minded folks have suggested that some UFO sightings may be deliberate hoaxes perpetrated by the government to discredit the actual sightings. But then, we all know that the Illuminati are a front for the Illuminati ….) In any case, the media seem remarkably uninterested in the government cover-up, despite the fact that in this case the FAA was caught red-handed and basically had to admit it had lied. But what news agency is going to risk its credibility by investigating Saucermen from Sagittarius?