It’s not often that Magonia has ever made it into the pages of the sensational tabloids (only twice, to my knowledge), and only ever once managed to get involved with anything resembling a sex-scandal (it’s OK, officer, nothing to do with Operation Yewtree). The front page of Magonia 29 carried an account of my contact with a reporter from the notorious Sunday Sport at a talk I gave to BUFORA shortly after my Evidence for Alien Abductions book was published. Its report was headed ‘Breeding Cock-up’ (subtle, or what?) and you can read all about it HERE.
The lead article in this issue was a piece by Roger Sandell, ‘Notes Towards a Social History of Ley-Hunting’. This was based on a talk that Roger gave to the Anglo-French UFO meeting at Hove, in 1988 - one of the four ground-breaking conferences organised by Hilary Evans. What was remarkable about this talk was that, after the non-arrival of one of the scheduled speakers, Roger leapt into the gap and gave this presentation almost entirely ad-lib, relying on his prodigious memory and understanding of the social background to anomalous phenomena. He later wrote up the presentation, adding and revising it slightly, before publishing it in Magonia.
Martin Kottmeyer made his second appearance in our pages with a short article ‘The Creative Fire’ which furthered the discussion about the role of the UFO, and particularly the abduction experience as a means for the individual percipient to externalise their otherwise repressed creative instincts. He concludes: “There is a fire to create in the souls of the abductees. Ufologists unleash it at their own peril.” The recent history of the abductionist cult shows how true that is.
Magonia 29 also saw a continuation of the debate about ‘earthlights’ with Claude Maugé taking on Paul Devereux. It is difficult to remember just how central to ufology, at least ufology in the United Kingdom, the earthlights theory was. It was perhaps the last serious attempt to find a solid physical - or geophysical - explanation for the UFO phenomenon. But, like too many other attempts, it ultimately failed through trying to develop an overall explanation for a wide range of disparate events and experiences which had little in common except that at some time or other they had been labelled as ‘UFOs’.
Long before Nick Pope was a gleam in the eye of a civil service examiner, Ralph Noyes was ufology’s man in the corridors of power, and he took a senior insider’s look at the emerging MJ-12 farrago in his ‘Majestical Mystery Tour’. and gave an informed and forensic analysis of the flaws in the story. He expresses his own intimations that “some Americans had already, by 1950, detected a weirdness in UFO events which was unlikely to yield to treatment by the established physical sciences”.
So can we conclude “Magonia was right - and that’s official!”? -- John Rimmer