27 June 2010


Mac Tonnies. The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us. Anomalist Books, 2010.

Before his sad and untimely death last year, Mac Tonnies had been intriguing ufologists with his idea that UFOs were the product of some quasi-human community sharing the planet with us. This book, extracted from his computer files, presents some of these ideas.
The term 'book' is perhaps a misnomer, for what is presented in this short booklet is less a single co-ordinated book than what look like synopses for a number of different books which would have taken his ideas in different directions.

It is clear that he never developed any clear picture of what these cryptoterrestrials were supposed to be. Were they inhabitants of some parallel world, quasi supernatural entities, or flesh and blood creatures related to human beings? This of course demonstrates just how chaotic and inconsistent any hypotheses is going to be which takes the huge variety of UFO stories at face value. It demonstrates to me the sheer pointlessness of invoking non-human intelligences of unknown nature and powers to explain anomalies.

The paws-and-pelts, nuts-and-bolts version of this hypothesis has the obvious problem of complete lack of physical evidence. How could a technological community exist which left no trace of its presence? Tonnies answer seems to have been to invoke mental powers and psychic technologies, in other words magic. We are clearly not far from the realm of Harry Potter here.

In some senses Tonnies was entering into very dangerous ground, for if we conjure up the idea of a group of strangers possessed of magical powers, passing themselves off among us and infiltrating society, we are descending into the mad world of the sort of racist fantasies which in the past have surrounded the image of the Jews or the Gypsies. We all know where that got us.

Tonnies central error is the euhemerism, in which the creatures of the human imagination, which are personifications of the forces of wild nature, are reduced to historical and geographical entities. The few anecdotes presented (such as that of the 'memory' or vision of the encounter with "the god of the flowers") point to a very different realm for cryptoterrestrials, creatures who share our world because they live in the human imagination, rather than caves under the earth.
  • Peter Rogerson

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