Poltergeists AND UFOS?: Hard to find

17 Nov 2012 by Prometheus in Paranormal

This will probably be short.
I was going through a few of the Sanderson materials, looking for some of the rarer resources, and found a copy of Mark Moravec’s PSIUFO PHENOMENA: A Study of UFOs and the Paranormal. March 1982. Although an interesting monograph done by a competent UFOlogist, not many people have a copy in their research libraries. I have never met Mark Moravec, but he is/was a friendly colleague of Bill Chalker and Keith Basterfield and that’s good enough for me.
Moravec proceeded in this research during the hay-day of Ozzie catalog creation, where particularly Keith Basterfield produced a number of very good compilations. [also rarely in anyone’s libraries]. Moravec wanted to collect cases which seemed to involve a psychic element and see if there were patterns or even good solid evidence. He worked mainly with Ozzie cases, and was interested in “mental communications”, “poltergeists”, “apparitions”, “healings”, “ghostlights”, and “time lapses”.
The mental communications issue seems pretty well documented with all the “the words seemed to come from inside my head” and “their mouths never moved” sorts of testimonies, but the rest of this remains pretty marginal to me.
For whatever reason, I became interested in what was contained on the issue of the coincidence of a UFO sighting with poltergeist phenomena. Moravec believes that he has found evidence of this coincidence. I’m not so sure.
One thing that Moravec wants to note down as poltergeist phenomenon, for instance, is “levitation”, such as in a car-lifting type case. I don’t buy that as “poltergeist” at all. Even the possible lifting of a person, or in the famous French case, a horse, I wouldn’t ascribe to “poltergeist”. If I did such a thing, I’d be telling myself that the apparent “tractor beam effect” which lifted Captain Coyne’s helicopter in the great Mansfield OH case was a poltergeist.
In fact, in all the Ozzie cases surveyed, Moravec found only three that he classed as poltergeist-involvement. One was an incident where the witness was force-grabbed and pulled right through a pane-glass window towards an entity. This is both not very poltergeist-like behavior, but has a rather poor UFO involved in it to boot.
The second case occurred in the middle of a flap and in this instance featured a family who would hear overhead humming sounds but could see no craft. Some lights were occasionally seen at the same time as the hums, but not apparently directly associated with the location.
The third case is the famous Rosedale water-stealer but, for me, the poltergeist is hard to find here as well. There were sounds, some loud, always seeming to be directly associated with a craft; there was a huge amount of water gone missing from the tank near the UFO, and the witness’ watch stopped working normally. He reported that he could get it to run lying on the table, but not on his wrist. I’m not going to poltergeists on this one either.
The message to me is that an analysis of a lot of Ozzie cases found NO poltergeist involvement — OTHER Psi maybe, Poltergeists, no.

But are there none elsewhere? Maybe, maybe not.
Moravec began his discussion of the possible poltergeist involvement by citing what he felt was a strong Canadian case demonstrating it. So, let’s take a look.
The case occurred in Wooler, ONT July 2, 1968. It’s difficult to get a full write-up about it unless you have a pretty good collection of Flying Saucer Review. The case appears in one of their special issues [#2: “Beyond Condon”, June 1969]. It is reported by an investigator, Mrs. W. Graystone, whom I do not know, but the article begins by saying that it is the result of an interview report including taped testimonies, and this material was deposited both at CAPRO, and at APRO HQ in Tucson. Because of that, I’m going to assume that the report grows out of a decent field investigation, and will place some faith in it.
Two brothers [24 and 19] saw a light descending in the sky. One brother ran and got binoculars. Lights changed from red to purplish and were rotating around the craft. The craft dropped behind a distant hill-line. All through this event the horses were panicking and running in circles. Upon entering their home, the brothers discovered one of the family cats lying frozen on its back in a catatonic state. When it ultimately recovered, it ran away never to be seen again. A second cat also ran away.
So far, we have a mild UFO case with strong animal-effects. These events happened at about 10:30pm. After telling the family, and sitting around the table enjoying a late snack, at about 11:30pm the back porch window shattered — see the photo. It had, as stated above, an unusually “clean” breaking edge. Shortly a deck of cards lifted off the table and went flying around the kitchen making a mess, and a wineglass was yanked from one of the brother’s hands, sent flying to a glass-shattering crash on the floor. All three of these things are very poltergeisty, one must admit. All through that night, the kitchen seemed a source of constant clattering of utensils, some of which found their way to other locations in that room. An aroma of roses was said to permeate the kitchen.
For the next three days, nothing would happen during the day, but by evening rattlings and movements would occur. The men of the family sat down there in the dark trying to catch a culprit or in some way get explanations for things, with no luck. The latter of those days, these events were also witnessed by a local contingent of police and a Toronto reporter. Even audiotapes were made. Manifestations apparently continued on more or less a nightly routine for a while.
The initial window breakage elicited interest. A glazier was brought in to inspect it. He was baffled by the fact that the edges of the break were “uniformly smooth”. No jagged nor irregular areas at all. Adding to that mystery, the window pieces were thrown outward into the porch, not inward to the house. As a subjective stretch of the imagination, viewers of the breakage pattern began to see it [adding missing hole in glass and prominent window cracks together] as the form of a Dove flying away. I’ll leave that part to everyone’s own level of acceptability, although you CAN see it in the glass if you want to, without much imagination.
Just after recognizing the pattern, the investigative group turned off the house lights and sat in the dark waiting. The strong odor of the roses immediately returned, but that was the only manifestation, and from that time nothing else has happened. In subsequent days there were some explorations of the distant hillsides where circular annular ring traces were found, dating somewhat before the UFO witnessing however, and a peculiar substance [unidentified] found outside the house, which had acidic properties, burning the skin. Whether any of that is related, who knows?
And that is the point of the whole thing. The UFO was “real” though not much, unless the traces were somehow related, and the poltergeist was apparently spectacularly real. They didn’t quite happen at the same time, although the effect on the cat inside the house seems to have. So, is this a coincidence of two anomalous occurrences, or a connection?
In another probable coincidence, one hour earlier there were two UFO cases in Quebec, both involving entities [one with many seen inside a craft, and the other, more folkloric without a UFO, of two small entities chased by police]. Again: connected or not?

Two people, who at one time in their UFO careers would have given credence to the possibility that these events were all connected, were Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee [Jacques more forcefully than Allen, of course]. In 1975, they published some conversations that they had with Arthur Hastings in a very unusual book entitled The Edge of Reality, which most of you know. This book caught many people by surprise as it revealed a willingness in Hynek to see elements of the UFO mystery in paranormal terms rather than as natural phenomena or nuts-and-bolts. Of course Jacques was well into paranormal views of the subject, as Passport to Magonia attests. In their discussions, one case stood out to them as a possible clue or gateway case to getting at these pieces of the puzzle.

The case was “Ely, NV; February 14, 1974”. The quick thumbnail is this:
“Two brothers were moving some of their possessions in a truck near Ely, Nevada. At around 4:15 a.m. the engine of the truck began missing and the lights flickered, so they shifted into neutral. They then felt a blast of wind shake the truck and saw an orange colored light moving low to the ground from right to left. They stopped the truck and saw six different lights or objects surrounding them: three blue stationary lights, a red pulsating light, a silver colored saucer, and a reddish-orange saucer. The red light then came directly at the truck, passed close by, and continued on behind them. After the objects had finally disappeared, they found the rear axle on the truck broken in half. (Source: Mark Rodeghier, UFO Reports Involving Vehicle Interference, case 360, citing CUFOS).” Interesting yes, but what does it have to do with the paranormal? The paranormal element of this event is that when it was happening the brothers’ Mother was awakened by one of her son’s voices calling “Mom!!”. She saw no apparition, but felt that he was right there. The father did not hear anything, but the cot on which he was sleeping began rattling and shaking so that he, too, woke up. Poltergeist? Physical effects of family member at-a-distance? Same thing? Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon on these [few] cases, but they have the feeling of something paranormal tripped off by the UFO encounter, but not deliberately caused by it. That is, the UFO is itself; the paranormal event is something entirely different sitting there waiting for circumstances to enable it. If UFOs were DELIBERATELY creating paranormal or pseudo-paranormal manifestations, I’d think that my files would have a whole pile of them. I think that Jacques felt differently. I believe that, at least at this point in his career he was wide open to the possibilities that UFO manifestations were not only largely paranormal, in some senses of that word, but actively stimulating the paranormal in observers. The following is not precisely in that line, but it illustrates Jacques’ willingness to incorporate beliefs in Spiritual and psychic entities into his thinking at the time. From the book: Hastings was speaking of the beginnings of electrical research and the topic slid over to Mesmerism [which was originally very closely allied]. Hastings: “They didn’t even call mesmerizing magic, and that was far weirder”. Vallee: “Mesmerizing has been called magic. There were several books written against Mesmer, saying his experiments were all works of the Devil.” Hastings: “Well, I don’t know; it’s reproducible on demand”. Vallee: “So is The Devil!”. At that point, a probably very uncomfortable Allen Hynek steered the conversation back to UFOs. The point of bringing this up is that Jacques, and presumably many others, would be willing to employ quite active psychic and spiritual entities within the encounters of UFOlogy as causal agents of immediate or subsequent “psychic” events. My problem with this is not Ontological, as a Catholic I’m “all in” on the existence of demonic or daemonic or little people or tricksters potentially meddling in all sorts of things. BUT, it would make me feel a lot more comfortable with the hypothesis if I could find some significant pile of strong cases in which UFOs and such meddling-trickster activity seemed closely related.

As we’ve gone through the 20th century to the 21st, we’ve expanded our hypotheses [ ballooned our bullshit?] on what poltergeists are about, but clarity seems elusive. It’s probably still true that most parapsychologists want to believe that poltergeists are the subconscious psychokinetic mind-blastings of young stress-filled hormonal-raging teenagers. I don’t buy it. Maybe there’s something there %-wise, but there are WAY too many cases where nothing of the sort makes sense. Sometimes it seems to be the “thing”/location not the person passing through, for instance. Theories include: a]. the above; b]. restless spirits of the dead {aware or unaware of the fact}; c]. “recording and playback” of some past event; d]. slippage of time {past images}, or space {wrong things appearing and disappearing}; e]. other psychic manifestations {doppelgangers, apparitions}; f]. tricksters et al; g]. interfacing with other parts of the Universe, possibly even poorly controlled ET-technology effects; h]. Satan and his minions…. etc. John Keel once tried to claim that there was a correlation between UFOs and poltergeists, of which I’ve found no evidence. Doubtless he would, however, approve of all the speculations above. This is one of the things in UFOlogy that I don’t believe that I have any emotional “leanings” about at all — as an honest person, I have such “leanings” about many other things, which I try to fight off with data, but this business… I don’t think that I care one way or the other. BUT, I find no evidence that UFOs are deliberately causing poltergeists, and probably none that they are even related — out of several hundred thousand events there are bound to be one or two coincidences.