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Re: UFOs & Fairies? - Clark

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 10:45:08 -0600
Fwd Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2004 16:23:45 -0500
Subject: Re: UFOs & Fairies? - Clark


>From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2004 23:31:14 -0000
>Subject: Re: UFOs & Fairies?

>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 13:36:05 -0600
>>Subject: Re: UFOs & Fairies?

<snip>

Hi, Nick,

>>In my opinion Vallee's writings on the alleged correlation
>>between fairies and UFO occupants are close to worthless. I will
>>give him credit, however, at least for opening the discussion.

>>I also have written on the subject, showing there are
>>correlations but not in any simplistic, one-to-one sense. The
>>question is not so much whether supernatural entities exist -
>>an unanswerable one - as whether we can experience them, and
>>how all of this relates to the issues ufologists confront (e.g.,
>>are experiences necessarily events?).

>I agree with most of what Jerry says above, aside from his
>dismissal of Jacques Vallee's writings on this as being "close
>to worthless" (In what sense, Jerry?).

My problem with Vallee's coverage is severalfold, but
the core difficulty from my point of view is that it's offered in
service to an occult worldview, which I judge to be unhelpful,
question-begging, and little more than magical thinking.

I do, however, wish to stress that Vallee deserves credit for
bringing this issue into the discussion. That makes him sort of
like the explorer who's the first one to get to the undiscovered
country. It may be churlish of the rest of us to complain too
much if he doesn't get the map quite right.

>None of this answers Jerry's question about whether experiences
>are necessarily events. I see this as essentially a
>philosophical question, though one that gets to the heart of the
>whole contactee/abductee/experiencer mystery. It reminds me of
>something the late Ralph Noyes said at a Society for Psychical
>Research meeting, when he was becoming frustrated with debates
>over the use of the word "real", and proposed that it should be
>avoided where possible, in the context of parapsychological
>research.

I am sure you don't mean "philosophical question" as simply some
abstraction of the sort ufologists can safely relegate to
late-night discussions over a beer or two. Over the years it has
seemed to me to be the core question that is raised by a wide
range of anomalous reports. I am confident that there are actual
events going on, but I am just as certain that around this
signal is a fog of things I have called experience anomalies
(EAs), which are something else altogether in spite of surface
similarities.

In my judgment, for reasons I have addressed elsewhere, fairy
phenomena and experience are probably more productively viewed
in the context of EAs - though almost certainly, as you suggest,
some or many phenomena pigeonholed in the UFO category may well
be the same.

That doesn't mean that UFO entities are modern fairies, or that
traditional fairies are some variety of UFO entities, just that
they both manifest in anomalies of experience about which, at
this stage of human knowledge, it is difficult, maybe
impossible, to say more. There is no proof that fairies "exist"
in the conventional sense of the verb, but at the same time
there seems no doubt, either, that people have experienced them.
The whole worldwide tradition of fairies is driven, after all,
by perceived encounters with these supernatural beings. This may
be the paradox at the center of the problem of many
extraordinary anomalies (or, more precisely, testimony
concerning many extraordinary anomalies).


Jerry Clark




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