The Sheep Look Up
Last week I suggested that UFO encounters may be a subset of religious phenomenon. I thought that begged an exploration of how religious manifestations can mirror those of UFOs, and how both may be mechanisms of control for non-human agents.
But first, if anyone's missed it, I'll say again: the assumption that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft does not explain the data. The phenomenon is too weird and too diverse, and even too common, to be accounted for by survey teams from Zeta Reticuli, the Pleiades, the planet "Ummo," or any other home the "aliens" have identified. (And I find it a fascinating frustration that many of those convinced of a massive government cover-up fall over themselves to accept the words of non-human entities.) So before I bring in the religious material, let me be clear that I consider the "God rides a spaceship" hypothesis popularized by Erich von Daniken to be a crude, backwards misapprehension of what's going on. It is simply not strange enough to account for the hyperreality of both the God Event and the UFO phenomenon, which may be virtually identical.
As today is May 13 let's start with Fatima, since it was on this day in 1917 that the "Lady from Heaven" first appeared to the young cousins Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. (Though manifestations began two years earlier, when the then-eight year old Lucia first saw a transparent white cloud in human form. In 1916, the three were visited by a beautiful boy who identified himself as the "Angel of Peace." His appearance followed a loud rumble and a white light which glided over the tree tops. The appearences left the children momentarily paralyzed, confused and physically drained - all symptoms familiar to students of close encounters.)
In broad strokes, this is the story: on the 13th day of the month, for six successive months, three young Portuguese children received visions of a small, brightly glowing figure of a woman, who appeared with attendant aerial manifestations of globes and rays of light. The events increased in intensity until the promised miracle of the final appearance, on Octorber 13, which drew a crowd of some 70,000.
Avelino de Almeida, editor of the Lisbon newspaper O Seculo, had written dismissively of the growing legend of Fatima on the morning of the predicted miracle. A few hours later, he became a witness to the event:
From the road, where the vehicles were parked and where hundred of people who had not dared to brave the mud were congregated, one could see the immense multitude turn toward the sun, which appeared free from clouds and in its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting:
"A miracle! A miracle!" Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside any cosmic laws - the sun "danced" according to the typical expression of the people.
Another witness was natural science professor Joseph Garrett:
This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body, for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl, when suddenly a clamor was heard from all the people. The sun, whirling, seemed to loosen itself from the firmamant and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. The sensation during these moments was terrible.
Nine miles away Joaquim Lourenco was so impressed by what he saw that he became a priest:
I feel incapable of describing what I saw. I looked fixedly at the sun which seemed pale and did not hurt my eyes. Looking like a ball of snow, revolving on itself, it suddenly seemed to come down in a zig-zag, menacing the earth.... There was an unbeliever there who had spent the morning mocking the "simpletons" who had gone off to Fatima just to see an ordinary girl. He now seemed paralyzed, his eyes fixed on the sun. He began to tremble from head to foot, and lifting up his arms, fell on his knees in the mud, crying out to God.
Poet Alfonso Lopes Viera witnessed the phenomenon from the oceanside town of San Pedro der Muel, though it is 30 miles from Fatima. It was also viewed in Pombal, 32 miles north. "The total land-area of visibility, based on witness interview, was approximately 32 by 20 miles." Yet no observatory recorded it.
A final witness, Maria Teresa of Chainca:
The sky was covered with clouds and it rained much. We could not see the sun. Then suddenly, at noon, the clouds drew away and the sun appeared as if it were trembling. It seemed to come down. It began spinning like a fire-wheel in the pagan feasts. It stopped for a few minutes and again started rolling, perhaps in a diameter of more than a meter while we could look at it as though it were the moon. Things all around turned into different colors.
Let's pay close attention to this: before the miracle, the sky was overcast. "We could not see the sun." Then, at the appointed time, the clouds parted as though they were curtains, and where the sun should be, now was a dull silver disc, revolving on itself, that could be observed directly without harming the eyes. Then it was seen to descend in a zig-zag pattern, spinning and flashing lights to psychotronic effect. Sound familiar?
(Also worth noting is that the heavy rains had soaked the ground and the thousands of spectators. Yet it was reported that the phenomenon quickly dried the earth, as well as the clothes of those in attendance. Microwave heat effects are also quite common to UFO encounters.)
The 1930 decision of the Roman Catholic Church on the validity of the Fatima miracle, arrived at after 13 years of investigations, states that though no astronomical observatory reported the phenomenon, it was nevertheless "witnessed by persons of all categories...believers and unbelievers, journalists of the principal Portuguese newspapers and even by persons some miles away. Facts which annul any explanation of collective illusion."
It was not a collective illusion, for the reasons mentioned. But neither was it the sun, for the same reasons.
In Dimensions, Jacques Vallee has this to say about Fatima's phenomena:
Not only was a flying disc or globe consistently involved, but its motion, its falling-leaf trajectory, its light effects, the thunder-claps, the buzzing sounds, the strange fragrance, the fall of "angel hair" that dissolves upon reaching the ground, the heat wave associated with the close approach of the disk - all of these are frequent parameters of UFO sightings everywhere. And so are the paralysis, the amnesia, the conversions, and the healings.
Many UFO researchers, particularly those who regard themselves as "serious," likely recoil at this material, and either dismiss it without consideration as pre-modern superstition which threatens to "contaminate" the hard data, or worse, attempt to divest the experience of its religious content. But wait: the religious effect is the point of the contact event.
As would seem to be the case with UFO encounters, the point of the manifestation is self-evidently the effect upon the witnesses. Whether to induce terror, or wonder, or worship, the effect is socio-religious. And if we can say this about Fatima, then it would be fair to admit that this has probably been going on for some time. Say, maybe, for all of human existence.
UFO contactees are generally inclined to accept that non-human entities are telling them the truth. So also religious visionaries tend to accept without question the integrity of their visions. But regardless of her bag of tricks, just because a Lady says she came from Heaven, doesn't mean she came from Heaven. As UFO encounters are often self-contradictory, so too are alleged appearences of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or "BVM," as Vallee coins them. For instance, the recent apparitions of the Virgin at Medjugorje deliver a message of feel-good ecumenism quite foreign to the Lady of Fatima. (Malachi Martin judged the Medjugorje manfestations "clearly demonic.")
Yet there is a recurrent theme, common to both UFOs and BVMs : a warning of apocalypse soon. Why would that be?
Sister Lucia, the last survivor of the three children of Fatima (as prophesied, the other two died in their youth), passed away on February 13. (Yes, the 13th: the same day of the month on which the Fatima visions occured.) Her convent cell was ordered sealed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI (And yes; Benedict XV was Pope at the time of Lucia's childhood visions.) It was Ratzinger who disseminated the story that Fatima's Third Secret was no biggie; it had been fulfilled in the assassination attempt on John Paul II.
Now, why would he do a thing like that?