16.8.11

MAGONIA 23, JULY 1986

Although dated July 1986, Magonia number 23 was, according to the notebook I recorded such things in, actually posted out to subscribers in August. Such were the delights and delays of publishing a small magazine!

I notice a sad coincidence so soon after the death of Hilary Evans, that 25 years ago we were recording the death of J. Allen Hynek. In their very different ways these two people were central to the way 'ufology' subsequently developed.

The main article in this issue was Peter Rogerson's mammoth 'Taken to the Limits', in some ways the definitive Magonia article. Impossible to summarise (read it HERE) it examined the cultural power of the UFO myth, and how UFOs insinuated themselves into the gaps in society: between wilderness and habitat, and supernatural and natural; always liminal, on the borders of existence, observation and belief. As an example Peter argues that the classic abduction scenario of the car on the lonely road represents an intrusion of 'habitat' - the car representing the daylight world of machines and factories - into the 'wildeness' - the empty countryside, forest or mountain.

Other intrusion of habitat into wilderness are more subtle: the the trailer parks on the edges of American cities, the council estates pushed away onto the fringes of British cities - both classic locations for UFO sightings and poltergeists. Peter's article is complex, and provoked some derision from more nuts-and-bolts readers, but reading it again from today's perspective it's possible to see just how prescient he was in some of his analysis.

Peter Rogerson's regular 'Northern Echoes' column developed some of the ideas from his previous piece, and looked at one particular topic that might structure part of the psychological element to the 'psychosocial' hypothesis, the phenomenon of 'fantasy proneness'. This condition, according to a study by Theodore X. Barker and Sheryl C. Wilson, affects about 4% of the population who:

"... although otherwise perfectly normal, fantasise much of the time. They experience these fantasies "as real as real" and exhibit syndromes such as an ability to hallucinate voluntarily, and profound hypnogogic imagery, as well as presenting superb hypnotic fantasy related performances and vivid memories of life experiences..."

I think this was the first time the idea of 'fantasy proneness' was introduced into mainstream UFO discussion, and obviously has a great deal of relevance to the growth of the abduction story. It also led to the development of the concept of "virtual experience", a number of instances of which we reported in later issues of Magonia.

The second major piece in this issues was an article by Christopher Allan and Steuart Campbell, 'Flying Saucer from Moore's?',  which finally exposed Patrick Moore as being 'Cedric Allingham', the author of the first British 'contactee' book. It is an excellent piece of detective work, which created quite a lot of media coverage, making it possibly the only time Magonia featured simultaneously in the New Scientist and the tabloid Star! To this day Moore denies the identification.

The 'Second Look' feature contained Robert Morrell's criticism of John Harney's evaluation of Galileo, and Harney's response.

And finally .. you're probably all wondering did Magonia's racing tip for the Epsom Derby from issue number 22 bear fruit? Yes it did, second favourite Shahrastani came in first at a useful 11/2. Unfortunately no-one at Magonia put any money on it. Talk about not having the courage of your convictions!

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