Back in the day Ted Bloecher and David Webb set out to produce something called HUMCAT, a catalogue of reports of UFO occupants, something which I worked with for a time during the INTCAT years. All of that got swallowed up by the abduction tales, Ted Bloecher became so disillusioned with that development that he left ufology altogether to work with the New York Gay Man’s Choir, and Webb got more sucked into the Andreasson saga.
HUMCAT was kept going for a time and then ended up in the vaults of the now largely defunct CUFOS, from where it was rescued by Rosales, a Miami police officer. His website (HERE) has become a repository of a huge range of material, going far beyond the boundaries of ufology and this book provides a paper copy of the stories from the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Though Rosales himself takes a fairly literal view of these stories, as explained in my introduction to INTCAT I take a much less literal view: they are modern folklore. The stories in this book show how this folklore flourishes and diversifies when all the gatekeepers are removed. Rosales lets everything in, there is no attempt to separate true and false stories. Furthermore this collection can thought of as representing post-ufological lore.
The great inspiration for all of this work was Jacques Vallee’s catalogue in Passport to Magonia, which we, in what was then MUFOB, first read 45 years ago. In Vallee’s catalogue the stories were taken either from newspapers, Project Bluebook files, the pages of popular books, or most often journals such as Flying Saucer Review, Lumieres dans la Nuit, Phenomenes Spatiuax, APRO Bulletin and UFO Investigator. The latter attempted to present at least a façade of scientific ufology and the cases presented had often been investigated by people with a degree of competence. The result was in effect a homogenised product in which ufologists ideas of what constituted real cases predominated,
Rosales twenty-first century material by contrast comes from a period in which organised Ufology has collapsed, and much of this material derives from 'tell your own story' internet sites. The material is also much more global and one of the main differences is the appearance of a vast range of material from the former Soviet Union, joining the material from Latin America. The United States and Western Europe and very much in the minority here.
Looking at this material, it strikes me that what we are seeing here is folklore escaping from its historical, cultural and ideological background and being melded and globalised, and that the Internet is the main engine for the globalisation of folklore as for much else. We can also see the technologisation of traditional lore. Aliens replace angels and devils, they call on a sinful earth to repent, they guard the natural resources, they are the new mysterium.
The others are protean creatures of the imagination, and quite a number are actually presented as shape-shifters. Whether from the deep spontaneous imagination of dreams and visionary experiences, or from the crafted imagination of the story teller, they speak of a need to tell stories of signs and wonders, of encounters with the other, against which we can mirror ourselves.
This is not a book for ‘scientific ufologists‘, and no doubt academic folklorists would much prefer to hear these stories told by the original tellers, inflections and all, but definitely for anyone interested in modern lore and how it reflects the human need for wonder. -- Peter Rogerson