As an agnostic and skeptic, I’ve been trying to get myself up to speed on UFOlogy, and I’m sorry to report that the vast majority of the “information” out there is largely crap. I have found, however, that there are, in the history of this field of (mostly amateur) study, at least two serious scientists who spent a lot of time looking into the issue and had interesting things to say about UFO phenomena: Dr. Jacques Valee and Allen Hynek. Here’s an image of the two scientists together:
In their UFO investigations, these men were most active in the 1970s. Jacques Vallee, in a 2008 interview, has said that he believes that his 1970s books on the subject are still relevant today since (to his regret) no breakthroughs in information gathering or hypotheses have occurred since he wrote them. UFOs, says Vallee, are as perplexing as when he studied them over 30 years ago. Dr. Hynek, unfortunately, has passed away.
Here’s a brief clip of Vallee being interviewed in the 1970s. Notice that Vallee links UFOs to folklore:
And here’s a more recent clip of Vallee discussing UFO’s:
And here’s Allen Hynek in a 1977 interview:
As for documentary films, there are two that I know of that are intellectually interesting:
- Out of the Blue (which I have not seen, but am told is exceptional)
- Touched (which I have seen, and thought quite interesting)
Touched is directed by a woman and won a number of documentary awards. She explores, sympathetically, the stories of various people who claim to have had abduction experiences, and it is deeply moving and interesting. She also interviews a Harvard psychologist (now deceased) by the name of John Mack. Mack was a sympathetic researcher into UFO abductee stories, and the fact that he took the abductee narratives seriously scandalized him among his peers.
I’d note that Mack, Vallee, and Hynek have been skeptical of the popular interpretaion of UFOs (that they are metal saucers with aliens inside from another solar system). But they do think that something strange is going on (beyond psychosis or witnesses mistaking, say, balloons or birds for saucers). My own sense thus far is that something is going on, and what is intriguing to me is what this might say about the nature of mind manifesting itself apart from bodies. In other words, UFOs might well be an encounter with disembodied or projected minds of some sort (perhaps from another dimension). I know that sounds very, very weird. But it’s one thing Vallee holds out as a possibility—something intentional, though extra-psychological (not residing in the mind as hallucination).
There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio?