Pasulka, who is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, regards the belief in UFOs as a ‘nascent religiosity’ and that the perception of the subject is mediated and manipulated by the media and unnamed agents of disinformation.
She claims TV, films, video games and other media give the stereotyped viewpoint that flying saucers come from distant star systems. So she was surprised to meet scientists who live like mystics and believe that we are dealing with interdimensional intelligence.
Agreeing with Jacques Vallee, Pasulka believes that to get to the heart of the matter we should speak to the UFO witnesses and experiencers, who are living with ‘alien’ contacts in the here and now. Rather than seeing nuts and bolts craft these people report entering altered realities, encounter angels and demons and are often touched by uncanny coincidences and dreams.
Chapters of the book look at the high-strangeness experiences of Dr. Iya Whiteley a space psychologist, an anonymous scientist who works for a major space agency, José a former US Marine, Simone who researches AI and works for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DAPRA), Patricia Turrisi and Len Filppu. Like indigenous peoples throughout the world their stories tend to reinforce a spiritual aspect to anomalous and UFO experiences that are in synchrony with land and place.
To anyone with anything more than a superficial interest in UFOs none of this comes as a surprise, especially for anyone who regularly reads Magonia or Fortean Times. Indeed, my book Portraits of Alien Encounters carries very similar stories recounted by people in Northern England back in the 1970s.
The people Pasulka encounters are well educated and hold important positions in society, yet are they reporting anything more credible or ‘real’ than nuts and bolts UAP craft? And, do their qualifications make them better reporters?
Jacques Vallee towers over the narrative like a modern day guru who guides Pasulka with cryptic comments on how to deal with this subject, but does this blend of techno/mysticism about non-human intelligences who live beyond time and space really add up?
Pasulka seems to accept these findings, yet the people she ‘encounters’ are influenced by the same mythmaking structures and the same concerns as those expressed by the people in my (Portraits of Alien) Encounters book. There is no mention of alien abductions and how they fit in with the ‘new’ techno/myths and AI, nor does she address how these ideas have filtered into Congress or how they have secretly powered the US government to study UAPs.
Like other important people Pasulka has gone down the UFO rabbit hole and joined the alien bunny club. Nonetheless Encounters is a fascinating look at different people and the sheer variety of their (psychological - I would say) experiences.
- Nigel Watson