Cosmic Tricksters from Magonia
But we have seen and heard of many people overcome with so much foolishness, made crazy by so much stupidity, that they believe and say that there is a certain region, which is called Magonia, from which ships come in the clouds.
In 1969, French astronomer Jacques Vallee wrote a small book called Passport to Magonia. In it, he put forth the argument that there are links between the modern UFO phenomena, and folk-tales, myths, and legends from earlier times that feature supernatural beings such as angels, giants, elves, fairies, and devils.
I love this book. I have a first edition and it's one of my most prized books, even though it's falling apart. It's filled with strange tales - little snippets of high-weirdness - recounting experiences that people have had and reported, and have very often been ridiculed for.
When I first read it, my sons all still lived at home, and I would eagerly tell my eldest the more interesting stories as I progressed through the book. Ever the skeptic (although, it has to be said, less so now than a few years ago), he would say they're probably just making it up. And I would reply saying - throughout history, if you took all the tales people have told about seeing things that current science cannot explain - the millions of accounts out there, across the world - it would only take one person to be telling the truth for this whole phenomena to be a real thing.
Pre-dating the notion of UFOs and aliens, there are innumerable accounts of people having encounters with strange beings. The father of the mathematician Jerome Cardan had an experience with meeting:
"seven men clothed in silken garments, resembling Greek togas, and wearing, as it were, shining shoes. The undergarments beneath their glistening and ruddy breastplates seemed to be wrought of crimson and were of extraordinary glory and beauty."
When asked who they were, they answered:
"...that they were men composed, as it were, of air, and subject to birth and death.
In 1575, French writer Pierre Boaistuau said:
"The face of heaven has so often been disfigured by bearded, hairy comets, torches, flames, columns, spears, shields, dragons, duplicate moons, suns, and other similar things, that if one wanted to tell in an orderly fashion those that have happened since the birth of Jesus Christ only, and inquire about the causes of their origin, the lifetime of a single man would not be enough."
In Passport to Magonia, Vallee mentions many of the more recent accounts - odd tales from people around the world. People to whom the idea of aliens from another planet visiting them, had probably never even crossed their mind. The tales they tell are curious, and if it wasn't for the fact that for the majority of cases, the tellers of these tales are respected, no-nonsense members of their communities, you would be inclined to wave your hand and dismiss them outright. A lot of the tales are also quite absurd. It is this absurdity that leads Vallee to his belief that what we are dealing with are not interstellar travellers, but perhaps interdimensional ones.
Cosmic tricksters that can move at will in and out of our world, and who have changed their appearance to us, as our own cultural beliefs have altered throughout the years.
Here are a few accounts from the book and as you read them, ask yourself whether, assuming they are true accounts, it is more likely that these beings have crossed the vast universe in order to grace people (often solitary) with rather mundane and sometimes bizarre experiences, or could it be, as Vallee claims, that they are instead visitors from another dimension.
On September 10th, 1954, in a small French village near the Belgium border, Marius Dewilde, at around 10.30 at night, noticed a dark mass on the railroad tracks. After hearing footsteps, he turned on his light and saw two beings, less than four feet tall, wearing what appeared to be diving suits and large helmets. He moved towards them, but a light appeared at the side of the dark mass, and Dewilde found himself unable to move. By the time he regained control of his body, the beings had gone inside the craft and had flown away.
Samples of stones that were found calcined at the spot where the craft had been, were taken away for analysis by the Air Police from Paris (working in liaison with the Ministry of Defence). However, local police were unable to obtain information about the results of the analysis.
Dewilde made a second report a couple of months later about a craft landing near his home, but no mention of this was in the newspapers because, as the police later said, Dewilde did not want this known to anyone else for fear of adverse publicity.
Six days later on October 20th, in a place near Como, Italy, as he was putting his car away in his garage, a man saw a being in a luminous suit. The being was small and was stood near a tree. Upon noticing the man, the being aimed a device at him, momentarily paralysing him. When he managed to free himself, he ran towards it but watched in astonishment as it rose a few feet into the air and then moved away with a whirring sound.
On November 6th, 1957, in Dante, Tennessee, a young twelve-year old boy called Everett Clarke, opened the door to let his dog out. As he did, he saw a peculiar object in a field about a hundred yards from his house. Thinking he was imagining things, he went back inside. About twenty minutes later he went back out to call his dog in, and found the dog standing next to the craft. Also there were two men and two women in ordinary clothing, and several other dogs from the neighbourhood. One of the men was attempting to catch Everett's dog but gave up. He then witnessed all four beings walk right into the wall of the object, which then flew away straight upwards, without making any sound.
In a fantastic coincidence (or not), on the same day in Everittstown (note the name of the boy in the above account), New Jersey, John Trasco went outside to feed his dog and saw an egg-shaped object hovering in front of his barn. He also saw a being, three-feet tall with 'putty-coloured face and large, frog-like eyes', who told him, in broken English that they were 'peaceful people' who only wanted his dog. Trasco, quite obviously, said no, and the being ran away and got in his ship which took off straight upwards moments later.
On April 24th, 1964, Lonnie Zamora, a police officer from Socorro, New Mexico, claimed to have seen two small beings next to an egg-shaped craft. One of the more famous accounts, Zamora's case was investigated by local law enforcement as well as the government, and patches of smoldering grass and brush were observed where the craft had landed.
On the same day as the above Zamora sighting, about 10 hours prior, another encounter was taking place in Tioga, New York. At about 10 AM, Gary T. Wilcox, a dairy farmer was walking to one of his fields to check the ground condition when he saw a shiny egg-shaped object unlike anything he had seen before. About twenty by sixteen feet, the craft didn't seem to have any hatch or door. However, suddenly, two human-like creatures appeared. About four feet tall, wearing seamless clothing with a headdress and full face covering, the beings talked to Wilcox in English, but it appeared to him that the voices came from their bodies, rather than their heads. They told him not to be alarmed, and that they were from the Planet Mars. At this point, Wilcox assumed that someone was playing a trick on him, but the conversation carried on anyway, with the beings asking childish questions about fertilizers, and agricultural techniques. They finally asked for a bag of fertilizer, which Wilcox went away to fetch, but when he arrived back with it, the beings and their craft had disappeared.
On July 1st, 1965 in Valensole, France, a farmer called Maurice Masse arrived to work in his field at 6am. After hearing unusual noises, he stepped into the open and saw a machine land in his lavender field. The craft was egg-shaped, no bigger than a car, had a round cockpit, and was supported by a central pivot and six legs. Two beings, apparently the pilots, were stood in front of it – less than four feet tall with heads three times the size of human heads, and a practically non-existent mouth. When they noticed Masse looking at them, they took out a small tube and pointed it at him, causing him to become paralysed. After about one minute, during which time they appeared to communicate with each other via gargling noises that came from their throats, they went back inside their craft.
At no point, Masse would later state, did he feel frightened during this time, feeling that their attitude was one of curiosity rather than of hostility. After they got into their craft, Masse watched as it rose a few feet into the air and then sped away at great speed. So fast in fact, that he was not sure if it simply disappeared or had just gone out so far, so fast that he could no longer see it.
At this point and for about twenty minutes after, Masse was still in a state of paralysis, and by now he was actually getting frightened – alone in his field, he thought he was going to die. However, eventually, he gained back control of his muscles and went home. For several weeks after, he suffered extreme drowsiness, and according to his relatives, and investigators that were around, he could not stay awake for longer then four hours at a time.
On April 18th, 1961, Joe Simonton, a sixty year old chicken farmer from Eagle River, Wisconsin, heard a noise and went out to investigate. As he stepped into his yard he saw a silver saucer-shaped object which seemed to be hovering over the ground. A hatch opened and Simonton saw three men inside, about five feet in height, with one of them wearing a black two-piece suit. Simonton said they apparered to 'resemble Italians' with their dark hair and skin, and wore outfits comprised of turtleneck tops and knitted helmets.
One of the beings held up a jug, that seemed to be made of the same shiny chrome as the craft, and his motions to Joe indicated that he needed water. Simonton took the jug and went inside to fill it with water. When he returned, he saw that one of the men inside the craft was 'frying food on a flameless grill of some sort'. One of the beings then handed him three cookies, about three inches in diameter and perforated with small holes.
The Air Force requested an analysis of the food by the Food and Drug Laboratory of the U. S Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, who found that:
The cake was composed of hydrogenated fat, starch, buckwheat hulls, soya bean hulls, wheat bran. Bacteria and radiation readings were normal for this material. Chemical, infra-red and other destructive type tests were run on this material. The Food and Drug Laboratory of the U. S Department of Health, Education, and Welfare concluded that the material was an ordinary pancake of terrestrial origin.
In 1909, anthropologist Walter Evans-Wentz wrote a thesis on Celtic fairy-lore which included his gathered tales from the people of Brittany about supernatural beings, their habits, and their food. He was told a story of a 'little woman' who went to the house of Pat Feeney and asked him for some oatmeal. He was also told by the locals that these beings 'they never tasted anything salt, but eat fresh meat and drink pure water.'
The pancakes that were given to Joe Simonton were missing salt. Make of that what you will.
I could write many more accounts from Passport to Magonia and will probably do so at later date, but for now, let's leave it there.
So what to think of it all? The recurrence of egg-shaped objects and of being rendered paralysed. The sheer banality of the experiences - in 1957, by which time there were numerous sci-fi movies and comics that told of aliens from other planets, you would think, if twelve-year old Everett Clarke was going to make up a story about flying saucers, he would have at least made the beings more interesting than he did. It doesn't make sense. But then, as Vallee points out, maybe it's not meant to.
Personally, I think that the mundane aspects of these encounters lead more to their credibility.
Traversing the vast spaces of the universe to steal dogs, ask for water, or fertilizer? Or to cook pancakes for an old farmer?
This is why I much prefer the idea that these beings, whoever they are, are maybe coming from somewhere a bit closer to home, so to speak.
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely believe alien life exists in the universe. I just don't think these type of encounters are them.
In the tv show Lost - there's a bit where two of the main characters are arguing about whether they should do something, or whether it's a waste of time. Finally, after some back and forth, one shouts - "Why do you find it so hard to believe?", and the other shouts back - "Why do you find it so easy?"
I love that scene because - you know - I find it so easy. And how couldn't you? Given that the above accounts are not even the minutest fraction of all the tales that exist now and have existed in the past - how couldn't you?
Remember, it only takes one person to be telling the truth.
I'd like to end this article by telling you about something that happened to American biochemist and Nobel Prize winner, Kary Mullis. He wrote a book called Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, in which he discussed mostly his scientific work. However in one chapter he tells a story that happened when he went to stay in his country cabin out near the woods in Mendocino County, California. After taking his shopping bags from the car into his kitchen, he grabbed a flashlight and headed out to use the outdoor toilet. On the path there, he saw something glowing under a fir tree. It was a raccoon.
“Good evening, doctor”, it said. Mullis says perhaps he said 'hello' back.
The next thing he knows, it was early morning (it had been midnight when he arrived at the cabin) and he was walking along a road uphill towards his house. Only when he got back and started putting the shopping away (the bags were still on the floor) did he remember the raccoon.
Mullis ends the chapter with this:
"I wouldn’t try to publish a scientific paper about these things, because I can’t do any experiments. I can’t make glowing raccoons appear. I can’t buy them from a scientific supply house to study. I can’t cause myself to be lost again for several hours. But I don’t deny what happened. It’s what science calls anecdotal, because it only happened in a way that you can’t reproduce. But it happened.