The canonical Bible is filled with mysterious characters, many of whom drop in for a cameo, do their thing, and then slide out, never to be heard from again. Some are merely extras, but some have a contextual presence that begs further examination. And some are, well, just weird.
Probably the single most mysterious figure in the Bible, Melchizedek was a priest-king of Salem (later known as Jerusalem) in the time of Abram (Abraham), suggesting a religious organization, complete with ritual and hierarchy, that predated the Jewish nation and their priestly lineage from the tribe of Levi. He is only portrayed as active in one passage, although he is alluded to once in Psalms, and several times in the New Testament’s Epistle to the Hebrews.
Some Jewish disciplines insist that Melchizedek was Shem, Noah’s son. He is thought of, in Christian circles, as a proto-messiah, embodying certain traits later given to Christ. New Testament writings assert that Christ was “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek,” indicating an older and deeper covenant with God than the Abrahamic-Levite lineage.
Hebrews 7, though presents him in a more unusual light. In verses 3 and 4:
“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”
Not only do these verses grant Melchizedek a hierarchical level above the most important Jewish patriarch, they assign him mystical qualities. Some take this to mean an earlier incarnation of Christ. Others see it as an ancient manifestation of the Holy Spirit. His identity, role, and theological function have long been debated.
The paucity of scriptural references have added to the mystery, making him a somewhat spectral figure. As such, newer spiritual traditions, as well as New Age quacks, have taken liberties with his persona. Gnostics insisted he became Jesus, and he is cited as a high-level priest in Masonic and Rosicrucian lore. Joseph Smith wrote that he was the greatest of all prophets, and Mormons still trace their priesthood back to him. The Urantia, a 20th-century pseudo-Bible that claims to merge religion, philosophy, and science, insists he’s the first in an evolutionary succession of deification manifestations, with Abraham being his first convert.
There is even a school of thought that Melchizedek is a title or assumed character name, sort of a theological 007, played by a series of Judeo-Christian James Bonds.
The lore of Melchizedek is confusing but deep and fascinating. Apocryphal books give us more details, some cryptic, some relatively mundane. The Second Book of Enoch is particularly informative, insisting Melchizedek was born of a Virgin. When his mother Sophonim (the wife of Noah’s brother Nir) died in childbirth, he sat up, clothed himself, and sat beside her corpse, praying and preaching. After 40 days, he was taken by an archangel to the Garden of Eden, protected by angels and avoiding the Great Flood without passage on Uncle Noah’s ark.
9 Cain’s Wife
Cain was, according to Genesis, the first human ever born. He later killed his younger brother Abel in a hissy fit over his sacrifice of meat being more favored than Cain’s sacrificial fruit basket. God put a mark on Cain and cursed the ground he farmed, forcing him into a life as a wandering fugitive.
That part of the story is fairly well known. Later, though, we read that he settled in the Land of Nod, and, all of a sudden, he has a wife. Absolutely nothing else is mentioned about her. We don’t even know where she came from. In fact, the question of where Cain got his wife, when his immediate family were apparently the only people in the world, has sent many a perceptive young Sunday schooler down the road of skepticism.
Some have posited a mysterious other tribe of people, maybe created after Adam and Eve, maybe even another race or species. But the standard response is that Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters to populate the Earth. The only way to keep the human race going would be to mate with siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In fact, though the Holy Bible is silent on her identity, the apocryphal Book of Jubilees tells us exactly who was Cain’s wife: his sister Awan, who bore his son Enoch.
8 Joseph Barsabbas
After Judas Iscariot turned in his resignation by selling out his boss, Jesus’s disciples rushed to fill the open position and bring the number back up to a more theologically apt 12. The remaining disciples, including the newly convinced Thomas, looked over the candidates from the 120 or so adherents who followed Jesus. Then they cast lots to pick who would fill the position.
It went to Matthias, a fairly mysterious character himself. We don’t know where he came from or his previous occupation. Some think he was actually the diminutive Zacchaeus, the tax collector who climbed a sycamore tree to get a better glimpse of Jesus’s ride on the donkey.
The man who lost out was Joseph Barsabbas, also known as Joseph Justus. We know nothing solid about him, even less than we know about Matthias.
There is, however, one bit of interesting speculation. A list of names presented in Mark 6:3 includes some of Christ’s earliest and most loyal adherents. One of these is a man named Joses, and another is James the Just. Biblical scholar Robert Eisenman suggests that James carried on Jesus’s work, and the writer of the Book of Acts assigned him an alias to minimize his importance.
7 The Beloved Disciple
In the Gospel of John, several references are made to “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This particular favorite is present at the Last Supper, the crucifixion, and after the resurrection. The writer of the Gospel of John even states that the testimony of this disciple is the basis for the text. But there is considerable debate over the identity of this mystery figure.
The most obvious nominee is John the Apostle, one of Christ’s inner circle of 12 and the namesake of the Gospel. But none of the 12 apostles were present at the crucifixion, so that crosses him off the list. Lazarus, resurrected by Christ, is also considered. He seems to have been present at the cited events and is referred to specifically, in the story of His death and resurrection, as “he whom Thou lovest.”
Mary Magdalene, Judas, Jesus’s brother James, or an unnamed disciple, possibly even a Roman or governmental official, have all been considered. There is even a school of thought that John is an interactive gospel, with the reader being the beloved disciple.
6 Simon Magus
“Simony” is the selling of church position or privilege. It is named for Simon Magus, or Simon the Magician, who makes only a brief appearance in the Bible, in Acts 8:9–24. Simon has since become synonymous with heretical thought, and religious exploitation.
He is presented as a powerful magician with a large following of in Samaria, who converts to Christianity and wishes to learn from apostles Peter and Phillip. When he sees the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues and an ecstatic spiritual state, he offers the men money if they will give him the secret to passing these gifts to others. They are not amused.
Apocryphal texts reveal quite a bit more, like his alleged ability to levitate and even fly, emphasizing that he was something akin to a cult leader in his hometown. It is suggested that his conversion is more for economic purposes than spiritual, and he set himself up as a messianic figure himself, competing for the Jesus dollar with his own homespun theology.
He is thought by some to be a founder of Gnosticism, a patchwork of various religious systems that relied heavily on Judaic and Christian symbolism.
Not unlike Simon Magus, Onan’s brief appearance inspired a name for a particular action.
He was the second son of Abraham’s grandson Judah, the patriarch and namesake of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. His older brother, Er (yes, just “Er”) was “wicked in the sight of the Lord,” so God killed him. What he did to deserve such an execution remains a mystery.
Tradition at the time dictated that Er’s widow, Tamar, become Onan’s wife. Onan had to impregnate her to keep the lineage alive, but he was not as wild about the idea. Maybe it was the thought of impending fatherhood, or Tamar just wasn’t his type. So, taking matters into his own hands, he committed the first recorded act of coitus interruptus. Or, as Genesis 38:9 so poetically put it: “And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.” God was displeased and slew Onan.
The whole tale gets even more sordid. Onan had a younger brother, Shelah. Customarily, he would have been next in line to impregnate Tamar, but Judah forbade it. Tamar, rather than graciously accepting forced spinsterhood, seduced Judah and (became pregnant) by the old man. Judah fathered twins Zerah and Perez, the latter of whom was listed by Matthew as an ancestor of Jesus’s earthly father Joseph…
Some have even suggested that Onan’s death warns that sex is meant only for purposes of reproduction, and not for pleasure.
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, a council of men who ruled on Jewish law and governance. He became a friend, follower, and intellectual foil for Jesus, whose egalitarian teachings often ran counter to the Sanhedrin’s rigid decrees. He was also a Pharisee, a leader within the Jewish community who toadied up to the Roman government at the time of Christ’s arrest and subsequent crucifixion.
He is mentioned three times in the New Testament, all in the Gospel of John. He subtly defends Jesus as the Pharisees discuss His impending arrest. Later, he helps prepare Jesus’s body for burial, indicating he had become an adherent to Christ and His teachings.
The first time he is mentioned, however, is in dialogue with Jesus, and these conversations reveal some of the most important aspects of Christian theology, such as the notion of being “born again” and the most famous reference to the divinity of Christ, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This detailed conversation explores the divide between the Old Covenant’s dogmatic and exclusive Jewish Law and the New Covenant’s spiritually inclusive concepts. But for a vital contributor to such an important passage of the New Testament, Nicodemus remains a mysterious figure. Some scholars have suggested he may be Nicodemus ben Gurion, a Talmudic figure of wealth and mystical power. Christian tradition suggest he was martyred, and he is venerated as a saint. His name has come to be synonymous with seekers of the truth and is used as a character in many works of biblically inspired fiction.
3 James The Just
He is considered, next to Paul and Peter, the most important apostolic figure in the Church’s history. The Book of Acts specifically names him the head of the Christian church in Jerusalem, and he is frequently cited, both scripturally and apocryphally, as being consulted by both Paul and Peter. So who is he?
Traditionally, he is thought of as Jesus’s brother (or, more precisely, His half-brother). Jesus is listed, in the Gospels, as having siblings, some younger than Him. One was named James.
But James was a common name, and there are several mentioned in the Bible. Two of the 12 disciples were named James, but both are listed as having different fathers than Jesus, and neither went on to become James the Just. James the son of Zebedee went on to be known as James the Great, and James the son of Alphaeus was called James the Less.
It is known that he was a contemporary of Jesus, although he seems to have had no real inner-circle status during Christ’s ministry. The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas says Christ Himself designated James to lead the movement upon His death. The Apostle Paul initially seems respectful, even subservient, to “James the Lord’s brother,” calling him a “pillar” of the movement, even though he was later to disagree with him on matters of doctrine.
Some, though, have suggested the “brother” designation was spiritual, rather than physical. St. Jerome, among others, suggested that the doctrine of perpetual virginity indicated James could be a cousin, which, given the tribal associations and clannishness of the Jewish community of the time, seems valid. Such a relationship would indicate a certain social proximity without necessarily being a true sibling.
2 Simon The Zealot
Of Christ’s 12 disciples, none are more mysterious than Simon the Zealot. His name was meant to differentiate him from Simon Peter and has come to symbolize, for some, that he was a member of a similarly named political movement that advocated Jewish defiance to Roman law. Some have speculated that he acted, within Christ’s inner circle, as a political adviser. His presence then indicated that Jesus had a revolutionary political agenda.
The truth is much less exciting. The “Zealot” movement did not take place until long after the time that Christ would have given Simon his sobriquet, and there has never been any serious evidence that Simon, despite the designation, was a political radical. The name, and the word upon which it is based, did not take on those aggressive undertones until the movement itself was in full swing. More than likely, Simon was given his name because of intense spiritual devotion, rather than any radical political stance.
Nothing else is known of him, at least not with any surety. The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions him as possibly being a brother or cousin of Jesus, with no real evidence. The Eastern Orthodox tradition says he developed his zeal when Jesus attended his wedding and changed water into wine. Some legends say he was martyred; the philosopher Justus Lipsius somehow got it into his head that he was sawed in half.
Cited twice specifically, but alluded to frequently in general terms, the Nephilim were a race of violent giants that lived in the pre-Flood world at the same time as humanity. Were they, as some suggest, the offspring of demons and human women? Fallen angels themselves? Or simply the descendants of Seth mentioned in the Dead Sea scrolls, a tribe of cranky cases cursed by God for their rebelliousness? Regardless, they evolved and became known by other names, like the Raphaim, and frequently battled humans for land and power.
The most storied of them was Og, the King of Bashan. He was killed, along with his entire army, and his kingdom was ransacked. All of the survivors—men, women, and children—were put to death, and the strongest and most powerful line of Nephilim descendants was eliminated. Some Nephilim bloodlines continued to do battle with the Israelites, though they were becoming less powerful and dying out. One tribe, the Anakim, allied themselves with the human tribes in Philistia. Goliath was thought to have been one of the last few descendants of the Nephilim.
Goliath’s height is given in the earliest manuscripts as 275 centimeters (9′). That’s hardly as awe-inspiring as the creature laying in Og’s bed, which measured, according to Deuteronomy, 400 centimeters (13′ 6″). That’s basically Yao Ming sitting on Shaquille O’Neal’s shoulders.
Biblically, descendants of the Nephilim could not have survived the Flood, even though Og and other giants are post-Flood figures. Some biblical literalists have attributed their later existence to the descendants of Noah’s family hooking up, once again, with demons. Or, being fallen angels and not human, they did survive the flood.
Jewish tradition gets deeper into information about the Nephilim and their descendants, going against the grain of the biblical account. It tells of Og booking passage on the Ark by promising to act as a slave to Noah and his family. Other accounts have him hanging on to the side of the Ark and riding the flood out rodeo-style.
History Declassifies First Look at Alien In “Project Blue Book” Series!
What’s really going up in there in the skies?
Ahead of this week’s San Diego Comic-Con, EW shared a sneak peek first look at History’s scripted UFO drama “Blue Book”, which depicts “Game of Thrones” alum Aidan Gillen discovering an alien that’s been obtained by the government.
Maleficent helmer Robert Stromberg, an Oscar and Emmy-winning production designer/special effects artist, directed the first two episodes of the10-episode series, which chronicles the true top secret U.S. Air Force-sponsored investigations into UFO-related phenomena in the 1950s and ’60s, known as “Project Blue Book.”
“’Project Blue Book’ follows Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a brilliant college professor recruited by the U.S. Air Force to spearhead this clandestine operation that researched thousands of cases, many of which were never solved. Each episode will draw from the actual files, blending UFO theories with authentic historical events from one of the most mysterious eras in United States history.”
Robert Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partner Jack Rapke (Cast Away, Flight) and the company’s Jackie Levine (Allied, The Walk) executive produce for Compari.
Project Blue Book Pictured: Aidan Gillen
Alien Abductions ?! Many Stories and a Theory (and yet, No Solid Proof)
It’s a controversial topic, but there are people who think the aliens have visited the planet and are convinced they have been kidnapped and taken by them on alien planets. While their testimonies may vary, the only things they have in common are the unshaken conviction of what they have seen, what they have experienced, and the impact that this has had on their lives.
Thousands of people, everywhere, claim to have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to spacecraft, where experiments, often sinister, have been carried out on them.
Nearly half of them remember details of a possible genetic engineering program, some people taken by aliens used as carrier moms.
There are even some who claim to be human / alien hybrids, as – they say – their mothers would have been, sown, including alien DNA.
Sometimes kidnapping leaves traces on the body or on clothing, for example, scars that did not exist the day before, or strange signs that appear on various parts of the body and persist for a while.
Other people found out on the morning of the kidnapping that some of the clothing they remembered was lying on a chair or beside the bed.
A woman in Orlando reported that the clothing of her relatives who had been kidnapped was impregnated with a pink substance that could have originated in other worlds …
Every time a person launches such a story, public reactions are shared: some refuse to believe it is true, because everything sounds ridiculous, while others take things seriously, arguing that no one could invent such a thing, so it must be real.
How did the stories begin?
In 1957, Antonio Vilas Boas, a 23-year-old farmer in Brazil, has just started to tell a stunning story: how he was taken on board an alien ship by some small humanoid beings; was examined, got blood, had even intimate relationships with a female of that humanoid species, then he was lowered from the ship and left to leave. The whole experience lasted almost 4 hours.
The extraterrestrial kidnapping of this Brazilian farmer in 1957 is considered to be one of the first ever reported worldwide.
The most widely publicized was the 1960s when Americans Betty and Barney Hill announced they were kidnapped by extraterrestrials and subjected to bizarre medical procedures.
On September 19, 1961, Betty and Barney Hill of New Hampshire returned home from a trip to Canada. Suddenly, they noticed “a spaceship with the shape of a very bright glowing cigarette,” flying in the sky and seeming to be heading toward them.
Two hours later, the Wives of the Hill woke up from a deep sleep and found themselves a few dozen kilometers from where they had gone.
Since then, a cliché has been formed of these cases: an individual has a scary nightmare, asks for specialized medical help, and after hypnosis, he remembers that he was taken on board a spacecraft where he was surrounded by small beings tall, black-eyed, almost invisible nose and thin mouth openings.
Hill’s story has some common elements with Boas’s – medical exam, some features of the “aliens” – but it’s much richer in detail.
Interestingly, after the incident, they did not remember much; Betty then began to have some recurring dreams, which showed some details, so that eventually she and her husband used hypnosis, during which she had, with many details, told what happened during the so-called stay on board an alien ship.
The conclusion of Dr. Benjamin Simon, the specialist who has hypnotized and recorded and interpreted them several times, was that Barney’s story was a fantasy generated by his wife’s recurring dreams, which she had repeatedly told.
At the base of the whole complex of psychic phenomena there would have been a random anodyne – the two would actually have seen the warning lights of an aircraft that passed through the area even at the time Hill’s husbands claimed to have been captured; the rest is stressful, and memories of hypnosis – including “false memories,”
However, Hill’s double kidnapping has made a lot of sensation, and since then, the number of those claiming to have suffered similar things has grown steeply, so far there have been some 1,700 people who claimed they had contacts of these types with alien beings.
Over the years, a distinct subculture of this phenomenon has developed, prompting specialists in different areas to take seriously the study of these events. Psychologists also counted among those interested.
Alien Abductions | Truth or imagination?
If such things happened or not, if aliens visit and take from time to time on board their ships, human beings of both sexes, to study them morphologically and physiologically, we do not know yet. In the absence of incontestable evidence, the scientific community has contradictory opinions.
Meanwhile, there are people who are convinced that such things happen and there are people who strongly believe that it has happened to them. While those convinced that UFOs and aliens exist and visit us rehearsed, they never question the truthfulness of these stories, skeptics try to find alternative explanations.
Physicians, psychologists, have studied how many cases they could by testing the subjects themselves – the alleged abductees – to provide a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, starting from a bold premise: such meetings did not exist in reality but were imagined by those persons.
But what can make people think of it and relate things with such luxury of detail? Sleep paralysis, various psychiatric disorders (a paranoid trend has been identified in many of those studied) and other medical explanations have been proposed, partially accepted by some, violently rejected by others.
If in a state of wakefulness, the narratives are not too rich in details, hypnosis is sometimes used – a therapeutic and controversial investigation itself – a condition in which alleged kidnappers usually provide more details.
But there are researchers who point out that the interest shown by the scientists (there have been cases in which the same subject has been hypnotized several times by different specialists) can make those who are predisposed to such experiences reflect much at random and, become very preoccupied with it, to “fabricate” – not necessarily conscious! – a series of details to be considered with caution.
But regardless of the psychology specific to those who reported experiences of this kind, what always intrigued the skeptical researchers of these phenomena was the fact that a large number of these stories have some common elements.
Is it possible that one and the same extraterrestrial race has been the author of reprisals, spent half a century after almost the same pattern?
Or is it a positivist explanation: do people imagine the same things because some common characteristics of the human psyche predispose them to the same type of imaginary travel?
It’s a fascinating hypothesis, an interesting field of investigation for psychologists.
But what could be that “first cause”, common to all people, something that does not hold on to the family in which they were raised, to the school to which they have gone, to the experiences of life?
Well, there is something common to everyone: Intrauterine life, ending with birth – moving into a different life.
All the people in this world spent their first months in the uterus (even if recently, some of them begin their embryonic life in a test tube).
And after a few months of life in the uterus, all the people left him to meet the outside world, and this meeting is not a gentle one: psychologists talk about a “birth trauma” about the fact that the exit of the uterus and the entry into the outer world of the mother’s body represents, for the newborn, a brutal experience which, in the case of those with a more fragile psychic, leaves deeper traces.
Generally, we do not consciously remember the birth and trauma associated with it, but that does not mean that it leaves no trace in our psyche.
This idea made scientist Alvin Lawson elaborate his amazing theory on so-called kidnappings: stories would rely on our own memories of intrauterine life and its painful ending – birth trauma.
It’s a controversial but fascinating theory: a true descent into the abyss, a deep incursion into the deepest mysteries of the mind, where we keep, without knowing them, the memories of life before the world.
An unexpected explanation
Interestingly, Lawson does not claim that there are no UFOs, aliens, maybe third-degree meetings, but he considers that, as regards the particular aspect of capture by aliens of some people, bringing them on the spacecraft, the experiments made on them, etc., things are, first of all, imagination and not real facts. Regardless of other aspects of the UFO phenomenon, in his opinion, the kidnapping part is psychological and requires a proper approach – a careful psychological assessment of the subjects.
The author asserts that anyone can resist their birth trauma in the presence of an appropriate stimulus – hypnosis, drug substance or even the appearance of an unusual phenomenon – including the appearance (real or imagined) of a UFO. The retreat of this trauma may, for some, take the form of a hallucination; for others – of a religious experience; finally, for a small number of people – a “kidnapping by aliens”.
Here are summarized the main points of Lawson’s theory:
- In most of the stories about the kidnappings, the subjects described the present “alien” human entities with a large head, large eyes … strikingly similar, in the author’s opinion, to the appearance of a human embryo of about two months.
- He assumes that the embryo – then the human fetus – could have a perception of his or her own body, a “self-image”, even during the life of the neuter, and this memory is reflected in the way the adult describes his experience later ” kidnapping “.
- The often-present theme of the “tunnel” through which the abducted reach the ship above them – sometimes described as a light tunnel – sends thought to the tunnel that the fetus has to cross to get out of the mother’s body;
- In another interpretation – depending on how the subjects tell their lives – the radius that, drawing on the ship’s grip, catches and pulls in the captured man, could be an analogy with the umbilical cord, through which the fetus is linked to the placenta, exactly how, through that tunnel or beam of light, a connection is established between the subject and the spacecraft.
- The ship itself is interpreted by Lawson as a distorted picture of the placenta; this, with its dome shape, often placed in the upper part of the uterus above the fetus, is concurrent with the internal wall of the uterus, so that the fetus is connected to the mother’s circulatory system by the placenta and umbilical cord, thus receiving directly in the blood, the necessary substances for development. Images of the umbilical cord placenta are found, as an archetype, in various cultures of the world, from different places and times. It is, therefore, a well-established picture in the collective mind, is expressed in different forms, in art, mythology, religion …
- Passing through the tunnel, the subjects arrive in a wide, luminous space – sometimes with dazzling lights – where they are surrounded by several humanoid-looking beings and subjected to body examinations; many describe invasive procedures through the navel or at least a feeling of pain or tension in the navel.
- Alvin Lawson identifies here an obvious correspondence with the stage where the newborn comes out of the mother’s body, coming into the brightly lit birthplace, where members of medical staff manipulate and examine it; Finally, the oblique cord is trapped and cut – perhaps an unpleasant experience, both physically and mentally, even if we do not remember it.
A number of interviewees recall metal sounds – most likely in a birthplace, where most of the children come to the world in Western countries.
Otherwise, not the elements common to most of the stories, but rather those specific to a particular story, testify to the truthfulness of an interpretation from the point of view of the trauma of birth: thus, a subject mentions that he felt tightly grasped by a kind of pliers that twisted it, provoking – Back pain – Details suggesting the use of forceps during delivery.
Another person mentions how he straightened his shoulders and twisted his body “in an attempt to sneak through the tunnel” – or, just as it happens during natural birth: there is a fingering motion of the fetus, for to pass through the narrowest part of the basin.
In conclusion, “abduction by aliens” is regarded by Professor Lawson as a subjective experience with deep roots in psychology and culture.
The so-called extraterrestrials are unconsciously using elements of the birth process as a matrix for an imaginary abduction experience.
The many influences from films, books, stories of others, photographs, newspaper articles that relate to big-to-earth such events, presenting them as real, are added to the original matrix and are also used unconsciously to complement the complex fabric of stories with details.
Not accidentally, probably after the much-publicized Roswell case, most of the “rapists” began to describe (and even draw) the extraterrestrial authors of the kidnappings as small, stunning humanoids with large heads and huge black eyes – perfectly suited to the pictures and drawings that circulated through countless publications and which depicted “Roswell aliens”.
The mystery – which is so called by the author of the theory – is that it is unknown the cause that causes this reversal of the birth trauma in the form of a kidnapping by aliens.
It is also not known how these images – from intrauterine life and birth – are formed in the fetus’s brain and how they are brought back to life during hypnosis, under the action of substances or during spontaneous awakening from sleep.
It was expected that such a theory would arise vehemently. But Alvin Lawson (who died recently in September 2010 at the age of 80) maintained his claims, claiming, moreover, that uphology can not dispense with the help of psychology.
In the ending of the article he published his Theory (Alien Rebirth and Birth Trauma), published for the first time in 1982, he launches a bold conclusion, which is also a challenge for UFO researchers: “Until the psychology of these the subjects will not become the main target of investigations in third-degree meetings, research into alien abductions will not – and will not deserve – a serious and serious attention from scientists. ”
Share Me with Your Leader: Dennis McKenna Analyzes the Experiment at La Chorrera Through an Alien Encounter Lens
Dennis McKenna was abducted by aliens.
His brother, the late Terence McKenna, became the appointed ambassador of the aliens –following in the footsteps of the UFO Contactees of the 1950’s and 60’s– in charge of laying the ground for their arrival.
Both of them were subjected to profound mental and biological changes which effectively transformed them into human-alien hybrids.
That could be one interpretation extracted from the two famous brothers’ surreal experiences during their little expedition at the Amazonian rain forest in 1971, popularly known as the La Chorrera Experiment. It could easily have been the conclusion reached by UFO investigators if they had ever bothered to interview them after their return from South America; that is, if the McKennas had decided to omit the tiny little detail that their whole purpose of traveling to Colombia was to look for an orally active version of DMT, the most potent psychedelic substance known to man –oh, and that failing to discover it, they were all-too happy to settle with the abundant clumps of pan-tropical psilocybin mushrooms they serendipitously found all around the tiny jungle village they settled into.
Terence knew all too well that when it comes to the mere mention of mind-altering substances involved before or after an exchange with non-human intelligences, UFO buffs are just as puritans as the arch-skeptics who love to invoke the stereotypical ‘pink elephants’ meme, in order to explain anomalous sightings as a result of “one-drink too many at the pub”. He made a point to mention this during his presentation (“Shamanic Approaches to the UFO”) at the Angels, Aliens & Archetypes conference in San Francisco, in November of 1987, where Whitley Strieber and Jacques Vallee were also speakers, turning him into a heretic among heretics:
“(…)Had (Whitley) prefaced his story with the comment that before it all happened he took five grams of mushrooms, I doubt he could have sold it to his mother. Because in a world where mushrooms and other psychedelic plants are imbibed, such stories are commonplace. It’s no big deal!”
3 decades have passed since Terence, who departed this planet in April 3rd of 2000 –4-3-2(000) for those who like to check on numerological stuff– made this point of contention to the UFO research community, and yet barely anyone bothered to hear him amid all the shouting between those defending the legitimacy of the MJ-12 papers, and those who decried them as hoaxes. “Don’t talk to us about taking drugs in order to meet the aliens, you hairy hippie! We wanna know where the government is hiding all the crashed saucers!”
In the absence of something tangible, like a piece of a flying disc or a pickled alien body, UFOlogists had to settle themselves with the tangibility… of photocopied documents.
And yet, what both true believers AND materialists skeptics have failed to grasp, is that the uncanny nature of the UFO seems especifically designed into coaxing us to disregard such simplistic distinctions –is it either ‘real’ or ‘imaginary’? ‘psychological’ or ‘physical’? ‘objective’ or ‘subjective’? etc– and to open our minds into broader (and weirder) possibilities. Possibilities into which “Both/And” tends to yield better results than “Either/Or”.
During the Breaking Convention at the University of Greenwich in 2017, Dennis McKenna decided to take these ‘ür-heretical‘ ideas where his brother had left them, and to keep pushing further into exploring the commonalities between alien encounters and their Amazonian experiences in the 1970s. The title of his presentation: “The ‘Experiment’ At La Chorrera – Psychosis, Shamanic Initiation or Alien Encounter.”
Dennis numbers 9 basic parallels between the experiment at La Chorrera (E@LC) and ‘standard’ alien encounters –understanding the term as an umbrella encompassing any alleged interaction with non-human entities, in which angelic encounters and religious apparitions could also be included. These commonalities are listed below, along with my personal commentary on them:
- A familiar ‘back story’ often related to childhood events, or family trauma. In his book ‘The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss’ (which I highly recommend) Dennis narrated the family tensions he and his brother experienced while growing up in a seemingly typical middle-class household with a war veteran suffering from PTSD, plus the loss of their mother when they were fairly young –and Terence was at the time a fugitive of the law. As per alien encounters, abduction researchers have made the point that the phenomenon starts at a very early age, and it even seems to occur across several generations of the same family.
- A ‘siren song’ – something that inexorably pulls the ‘contactee’ into the encounter despite its terrifying nature. How many times have we heard experiencers being unable to explain why they decided to make a wrong turn during a road trip, or wake up in the middle of the night to have a nightly rendezvous with The Other? It is as inexplicable as what impulsed the McKennas and their group to leave everything behind to answer ‘the call of DMT’ into the inhospitable heart of the jungle. There’s also the ‘sense of mission’ Mike Clelland often talks about, with regards to the ‘urgency’ felt by many who claim the alien encounter experience into sharing their story online.
- The alien “teacher,” a non-human intelligence not always seen, but always sensed, with a message or information to share. For the McKennas the ‘teacher’ was the spirit residing within (or channeled through) the mushrooms they were ingesting on a daily basis(!) which they interpreted as something external from their own mind. ‘Channeling’ is in fact another umbrella term that is present in both the UFOlogical literature, as well as in spiritualist accounts of previous centuries –leading one to suspect the entities reaching both to UFO ‘Contactees’ and mediums were one and the same.
- Lost time – the encounters seem to occur in a timeless realm; contactees report returning to ‘reality’ hours, days, sometimes weeks, after their encounters. Often with little or no memory or confused recollections of what has occurred. ‘Missing time’ is by now an archetypical element of the UFO narrative thanks to the work of the late Budd Hopkins. During Dennis’s ‘abduction’ from consensual reality as a direct result of the experiment at La Chorrera, what might have been perceived as a full psychotic breakdown by an external observer, was perceived by him as being ‘smeared into all Time’; whereas Terence seemed to remain stuck into a ‘time-less now’ until they both gradually managed to return to a ‘normal’ perception of Time flow. Here Dennis’s exposition would have benefited from mentioning near death experiences (NDEs) and how the people who claim to have visited other realms while being clinically dead also report a sense of being ‘unglued’ from Time, and entering into a sort of Hyperreality.
- Transformative, psychic or physical modifications. Probes inserted into the brain or anus; objects implanted into the body (similar phenomena also seen in shamanic initiations). The alleged anomalous nature of so-called ‘alien implants’ remains a highly controversial subject, and yet I for one have been vocal in some podcast interviews by suggesting that these objects found inside the bodies of self-proclaimed abductees might have more in common with religious stigmata than with extraterrestrial technology –i.e. they may be a form of apport. Among aboriginal Australians on the other hand, it is part of their shamanic tradition the belief that after dismembering the body of the shaman, the spirits will put it back together but leave inside a ‘magic stone’ which will become a talisman for the new shaman, who is no longer a mere mortal but something different –a ‘mutant’ or ‘hybrid’ if you will. A similar form of ‘hybridization’ was sought out by the McKennas when they became convinced they could combine the psychoactive molecules of psilocybin with their own DNA using the right tone or sound frequency; and metaphysical discussions re. the importance of ‘vibrations’ has become such a hallmark aspect of the New Age narrative it is by now a cliché.
- Secret or esoteric knowledge is transmitted. The Contactee is shown books, or golden tablets, or technical manuals, or computer-like machines. These are often instructions for doing something or building something. Classic examples of this ‘higher knowledge’ can be found in the famous Hill case, in which Betty was not only shown a ‘star map’ by the leader of their captors, but was even promised a ‘book’ she could bring back to be shown as solid proof of her ordeal. The book was never produced, giving way to the notion often supported by Terence McKenna that the only thing you can bring back from Fairyland, Magonia, the Underworld or whatever label we wish to put to that ‘other side’ in which communion with non-human entities take place, are IDEAS. Whether these new ideas prove to be pure malarkey –like the instructions to build a flying saucer using electromagnetic principles as was instructed by the Space Brothers (which presumably destroyed many a barn in the 50’s), the secret history of the lost tribes of Israel decoded by John Smith, or the Timewave Zero theory concocted by Terence McKenna himself (which proved to be drastically wrong when predicting the Eschaton of History on December 21st 2012, in accordance to the Mayan calendar)– or are eventually shown to be accurate information which can lead to tangible progress –like Descartes’s ‘angelic visitations’ or Kekule’s dream which lead him to the discovery of benzene– is a trickier proposition than we would be led out to believe; and that is because often in paranormal experiences sometimes the subject will receive at first bits of information he or she can easily confirm to be factual, but this seems to be ‘bait’ in order to lower the skeptical barriers of the person so they get convinced of the ultimate grandiose secret –Doomsday prophecies or promises of ET arrival that are never fulfilled.
- Gifts are given. The Contactee often receives a gift, that imparts knowledge or power. In the case of alien encounters, the examples of food exchanges between non-human entities and witnesses could fill a whole book –and it fact it already did, thanks to my good friend Joshua Cutchin— and in the case of La Chorrera we also find examples of consumables that seemed to alter the perception of the consumer in significant ways; only that the McKennas had the unique opportunity of bringing back their ‘space pancakes’ in the form of mushroom spores, which were effectively disseminated on a vast scale thanks to the growing guide they (anonymously) published, not unlike all the books which were self-published by UFO Contactees in the heyday of the modern flying saucer era.
- The Absurd. Often there are funny or ridiculous aspects to encounter; if seen, the ‘aliens’ are little green or blue gnomes, or dwarves, or clown-like, or sometimes the scarier ‘greys’. Sometimes the ‘saucers’ are straight out of comic books or debunked UFO reports. As if the ‘aliens’ want to make clear that it’s kind of a practical joke, all in good fun. By “debunked UFO reports” Dennis is making a clear reference to the alleged ‘flying saucer’ encounter his brother Terence had right after their attempt to create the ‘transcendental object at the end of Time’ –a metaphysical UFO, a biochemical ‘Philosopher’s stone’– which was both wondrous and farcical since the object looked just like the oft-debunked ‘Venusian’ flying saucers photographed by the George Adamski in the 50’s and 60’s. The ‘absurdity by design’ quality of the phenomenon is something I’ve addressed more than once, and the self-negating nature of not only paranormal events but also profound religious experience, is something most academicians have yet to grasp. For example, although I have no doubt Adamski faked 99% of his material and the Venusian higher teachings was a rehash of Teosophical philosophy, the film taken by him in 1965 while staying at Madeline Rodeffer’s home still gives me pause; and the ‘distortions’ exhibited by the object may not be the result of a ‘gravitational distortion’ as speculated by those who studied the footage, but a sign that it was a sort of ‘thought projection’ or tulpa. Furthermore, it just occurred to me as I was writing this piece that, in a way, Terence McKenna became a sort of Adamski-like spokesperson for alien entities once he attained world-wide popularity; not because he was a charlatan mind you, but because both Terence and George were charismatic individuals with a ‘gift for gab’ and they clearly enjoyed being the center of attention –and also, because both of them suffered from untimely deaths…
- Post-encounter confabulations. Obsessive efforts to explain what happened. Loss of credibility in the eyes of friends and colleagues. A vague persistent sense of unreality; “things are not what they seem.” Dennis explains both in the aforementioned presentation and his “Screaming Abyss…” book how Terence became totally shocked and dismayed after what happened to them at La Chorrera, to the point that after returning to Berkeley he decided to return by himself to Colombia, yet it was all for naught because the mushrooms that had serendipitously appeared during their previous visit proved to be as transitory as the ‘fairy rings’ occasionally found by farmers in the Irish landscape. One could say Terence McKenna –that is the person he used to be prior to the experiment at La Chorrera– never did come back from his initial pilgrimage into the jungle, unable to find his way into Kansas after being whisked away into the land of Oz, just like many men and women who’ve had brief or persistent brushes with unexplained phenomena (be that a close encounter, a cryptid sighting or an NDE) and see their lives forever transformed by these chaotic catalysts –sometimes not for the better…
“Yes, there are unknown dimensions out there; beautiful, dangerous, and utterly alien,” concludes Dennis. These realms are accessible to those brave (or foolish enough) to seek passage via a chemical key, but other times the Invisible Landscape and their denizens come barging in uninvited, and disrupting the existence of countless people who try their best to make sense of this liminal glimpse through the looking glass. Some of those hapless individuals have been burned at their stake or committed into insane asylums, whereas others have been anointed as saints, or recognized as medicine men or high priestesses by their people –biological bridges between this world, and the Great Beyond.
And now thanks to the disruption of the Internet and other forms of modern communication —technologies who owe no small debt to psychedelics— the shamans, alchemists and prophets of this age can further spread the tendrils of the alien meme-cylea to every corner of the world, completely unbound by the constraints of space and time —sounds familiar?
Psychosis, shamanic initiation or alien encounter. How about neither…
Or all of the above, my fellow Magonians?
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