30 Minute obsessions is a podcast—perhaps soon one day to return—but meanwhile enjoy these miscellaneous thoughts in the blog!

UFOs, eh?

I read a lot of UFO stories via my subscription to UFO Magazine and by reading books, like the one I just finished: Captured! : The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience.

But do I believe in UFOs? Well, I want to believe. It would be so super fantastic that it's beyond words. But a problem with the whole idea, the problem that keeps more people from taking it seriously I think, was put succinctly by famous UFO abductee Betty Hill when she answered why she decided to stop investigating UFOs entirely:
Because there are too many kooks in the UFO field.

It's true. There are so many that if there is any legitimate information out there it's being drowned out by absolute crazy—and it's the crazy that gets the press, leaving the whole subject tarnished discouraging people from coming forward—and being identified as a kook.

There actually is a lot of evidence for UFOs out there—how strong it is is the central point of debate, I think. Unfortunately, there's no direct evidence—read ships or bodies on public display—only indicators open to a different interpretation.

And there are multitudinous problems besides. One of my big sticklers is how eyewitness accounts tend to match strongly with technology available—or imagined to be realistic—at the time and as our civilization becomes more advanced, so do the UFOs themselves. Betty Hill described a star map (a map she would draw from memory and which would become a famous piece of evidence used to validate her story) that was shown to her on a physical piece of paper retrieved from a hole in the wall of the UFO. Hmm. Well, it could be true—far be it from me to tell space-faring aliens how to organize their 3D navigation equipment—and maybe it was a spare besides but, yeah, sounds unlikely. Paper was a well-known technology in the '60s, but touch- or gesture-based electronic information retrieval less so. How close are we to having glasses-less 3D displays? How soon after that will the percentage of UFO abductee stories incorporate seeing that technology? Anyway, you get the idea.

So my stance is pretty much that until I can buy a ticket to see one in a museum I have to reserve final judgment—but meanwhile I will continue to read UFO stories and watch UFO movies.

But why read so much about UFOs? Oh, because They excite my imagination like no other genre. It doesn't matter if the story is credible or horrifically outlandish and ridiculous, I'm all for hearing it.

Because what if even the craziest UFO story was actually true? Imagine that! The imaginary implications of that are staggering and I can't help but want to think about what kind of world that would be. Aliens. Other civilizations: Why are they here? What's their society like on their planet? How do their bodies work? What powers their ships? How did they crack FTL travel? What's their language like? How do they communicate? Ten trillion questions all of them splendidly exciting. :)

Incidentally, the aforementioned book is exactly the kind of book I love. I bought it because I wanted to know the whole Betty and Barney Hill story. I remember the '70s TV movie and have heard the story third hand lots of times,  but I wanted to once and for all learn the official account, as it were.

And I wasn't disappointed. The whole thing is there in exhaustive detail and is well organized and written by two authors, one of them Stanton Friedman who's as close to level headed as one comes in the field, and the other by a close relative to the Hills and who had unprecedented access to a wealth of information about the story and the Hills themselves.

But that's not the whole reason why I read it. The real reward came early on. In the account, Betty and Barney were driving their car and turned off the highway onto a dirt road. There, the road was blocked by aliens standing in the road. Then...
He described men in the road who signaled him to stop by swinging their arms in a pendulum motion. His motor died and the men began to approach his car with a strange, nonhuman, side-to-side swaying gait.

Horrific! Scary! And what Betty later described about their eyes... Gah! Such a frightening story! Its imagery that will stick with me. Yay!

I suppose, for me, UFO stories are like campfire horror stories about a man with a hook for a hand, but the idea that just one of these stories could be literally true is wild, exciting, scary, and amazing—and that's where I like my mind to go.

Stanza coming online

What's that? Free ebooks—real ones?