Read Alien Dawn: A Classic Investigation into the Contact Experience Online
Authors: Colin Wilson
Tags: #alien, #contact phenomenon, #UFO, #extraterrestrial, #high strangeness, #paranormal, #out-of-body experiences, #abduction, #reality, #skeptic, #occult, #UFOs, #spring0410
About the Author
Colin Wilson lives in Cornwall, England, and has written over fifty books on crime, philosophy, and the occult, including the best-selling
The Outsider, The Occult,
Alien Dawn: A Classic Investigation into the Contact Experience
© 1998, 2001, and 2010 by Colin Wilson.
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First published as
Alien Dawn: An Investigation into the Contact Experience
by Virgin Publishing Limited, London, 1998.
First published in hardcover in the United States by Fromm International Publishing Corporation, New York, 1998.
First e-book edition © 2010
E-book ISBN: 9780738722894
Cover design and cover illustration by Kevin R.
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And just as every baby is a fully grown adult in embryo, so he’s also a complete human being in embryo.
But this is the interesting thing.
Because, you see, no human being on Earth has ever become a complete human being .
We all stop growing before we reach that stage.
—Colin Wilson (
Janus Murder Case,
A Problem With Two Many Solutions?
Crop Circles and Frozen Music
How to Get People Confused
The Labyrinthine Pilgrimage of Jacques Vallee
Goblins From Hyperspace
The Fourth Dimension
Oh No, Not Again!
The Way Outside
Over the years I have made many friends who are interested in UFOs, and I had no idea what a piece of good luck this would prove.
So when it came to the writing of this book, I was able to ask assistance from John Keel, John Michell, Bob Rickard, John Mack, Gerald Hawkins, Archie Roy, Jacques Vallee, and many others.
Jacques sent me a copy of his journal,
which proved invaluable in understanding the early history of UFO sightings.
Archie Roy suggested that I should ring Ralph Noyes, who in turn put me in touch with Hilary Evans, John Haddington, John Spencer, Linda Moulton Howe, Colin Andrews, and Timothy Good.
And, in fact, they ended by providing me with such a wealth of material that I have been unable to use half of it.
I particularly regret not having found space for a discussion of Mario Pazzaglini’s study of the structure of alien languages,
and for Paul Goddard’s remarkable
Space and Time, The Conceptual Answer,
which, with deep reluctance, I dropped from an overlong final chapter.
Gerald Hawkins’s fascinating research into the crop-circle code, insofar as it concerns the initials of presidents of the Society for Psychical Research, was also a victim of lack of space.
I am also grateful to Richard Brozowski, who arrived for a visit with a copy of a magazine—which he had picked up at a Canadian airport—with Paul Roberts’s article on his UFO encounters, Paul being one old friend I had not thought of approaching.
Richard’s wife, Anne Stephenson, also sent me a remarkable book on Canadian UFO sightings.
So did my Toronto friend Ted Brown (not the same book).
Linda Tucker went to some trouble to get me the striking material by the South African shaman Credo Mutwa.
Michael Baldwin, my host in Marion, Massachusetts, sent me David Morehouse’s
which arrived at exactly the right moment.
My friend—and publisher—Frank DeMarco sent me Joseph McMoneagle’s book on remote viewing, and allowed me to quote from his own private journal describing his week at The Monroe Institute.
Brenda Dunne and Robert Jahn have provided extraordinary material.
So have Ian Watson and Patrick Harpur.
A large proportion of the books I bought for research were provided by John Wright of Santa Monica and Stephen Shipp of Sidmouth.
My secretary Pam Smith-Rawnsley recorded for me Matt Punter’s UFO sighting.
Paul Newman provided me with
the transcript of the MIT conference on UFOs, while John Van der Does sent me Bryan’s
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind.
Finally, I am grateful to Lorna Russell, of Virgin Publishing, for asking me if I would like to write a book on the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
Neither she nor I had any idea of what this would turn into.
In the autumn of 1969, my American agent asked me if I would be willing to write a book about the occult for the New York publisher Random House.
It was not a subject that interested me deeply, for although I had read books on spiritualism and hauntings in my childhood, a subsequent passion for science had made me decide it was all nonsense and wishful thinking.
Nevertheless, I accepted the commission to keep my bank manager happy, convinced that it would involve telling absurd tales of ghosts with their heads underneath their arms, and prepared to write with my tongue in my cheek.
In fact, the subject soon had me fascinated.
My wife, Joy, happened to be reading Osbert Sitwells’ autobiography
Left Hand, Right Hand
, which described how, just before the beginning of the First World War, he and a group of brother officers had gone to visit a celebrated palmist.
She looked more and more worried as she read their hands.
When one of them took her aside and asked what was the matter, she said: ‘I could see nothing in their hands’.
A few months later the war broke out, and most of them were killed.
Then I read Robert Graves’s
, with its argument that there are two kinds of knowledge: lunar and solar.
Solar knowledge is the kind of rational, daylight knowledge that is the foundation of our technological civilisation.
Lunar knowledge is an older kind which rises from depths of intuition.
I met Graves when I was in Majorca, and was impressed with his conviction that there is a kind of knowledge that somehow leaps straight from question to answer, without the benefit of intervening stages.
And the more I read about second sight, ghosts, telepathy and precognition, the more I realised that modern civilisation has forgotten a whole dimension of consciousness that once came naturally to tribal shamans, and that we shall remain trapped in a kind of mental dungeon unless we can regain it.
In fact, I realised that our dream of a purely rational science is a delusion, and that we shall have to learn to recapture lunar knowledge.
To my astonishment,
(1971) became a bestseller in England and America, although there were many people who reproached me with selling out to the current fad for anti-rationalism.
I replied that I had been fighting the battle against rationalism since I wrote my first book,
in 1955, and felt that if paranormal powers like precognition and telepathy really exist, then it is the pessimists and rationalists who have been ‘selling human nature short’.
As a result of my burgeoning interest in the paranormal, I went on to write two sequels to
The Occult, Mysteries
Beyond the Occult
, and even allowed myself to be persuaded to go to Pontefract, in Yorkshire, to look into a strange case of poltergeist haunting in 1989.
This left me totally convinced that poltergeists are not manifestations of the unconscious mental powers of disturbed teenagers, but are, in fact, disembodied spirits.
All of which explains why it was more or less inevitable that I should sooner or later become interested in the curious mystery of UFOs, or ‘flying saucers’.
The history of modern ufology begins on 24 June 1947.
Businessman Kenneth Arnold was flying his private plane near Mount Rainier, Washington State, when he saw nine shining discs moving against the background of the mountain.
He estimated their speed as about 1,700 mph.
He said that they swerved in and out of the peaks of the Cascade Mountains with ‘flipping, erratic movements’.
He later told a reporter that the objects moved as a saucer would ‘if you skipped it across the water’.
The next day the story appeared in newspapers throughout the nation.
People all over the US began reporting sightings of ‘flying saucers’, and a US Air Force investigation was initiated; on 4 July, ten days after the sighting, it announced confidently that Arnold had been hallucinating.
After the Kenneth Arnold sighting, the next most famous event in the history of ufology is probably the Roswell incident of the night of 4 July 1947; it is also one of the most hotly disputed stories in UFO mythology.
An unknown object was seen in the sky over Roswell, New Mexico, and appeared to crash in the desert.
The following day, farmer Mac Brazel found shiny metal foil and wreckage in the desert.
The US Air Force soon moved in and removed the debris, then announced that it had been merely a crashed weather balloon; this aroused widespread incredulity and rumours that it was an alien spaceship that had crashed, and then been seized by government authorities.
I am an encyclopedist by temperament, and when, in 1997, a publisher asked me to write a book about UFOs, I immediately decided that I would try to make it the most comprehensive study of the subject so far.
Looking for a good starting point, I came upon a book called
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind
by a journalist named Courty Bryan, describing a conference held at MIT in 1992 which contained a piece of information that immediately caught my attention.
He mentioned that the astronomer Gerald Hawkins, the author of
, had pointed out that some of the so-called ‘crop circles’ contained complex geometrical theorems, and argued that this suggests a very high degree of intelligence in their makers, whoever they are.
It was a good point, for two elderly landscape painters named Doug and Dave had claimed that they had created the circles with ropes and a plank.
Since I had met Gerald Hawkins at a conference in Washington D.C., I lost no time in getting in touch with him.
And Gerald had no problem at all in convincing me that there are mathematical ratios within many crop circles that make it highly unlikely that they were created by hoaxers.
He discovered that some of them—containing, for example, equilateral triangles in a circle—demonstrate geometrical theorems that even Euclid never discovered.
Then he made another remarkable discovery.
Tuning a harp he had bought for his wife, he learned about the mathematical ratios of the notes of the musical scale, and realised that many crop circles created since 1986 contain musical ratios.
The possibility of this coming about by chance were thousands to one.
This was true of some of the circles claimed by Doug and Dave, and seemed to demonstrate clearly that, unless they had a sophisticated understanding of musical theory, their claims were not plausible.
Hawkins’s geometrical and musical demonstrations convinced me that many crop circles were created by alien life forms.
And a long and careful study of the whole UFO phenomenon left me in no doubt that this is not a matter that can be dismissed as some kind of hysteria or trickery.
But as I went on writing
, the real problem soon became clear to me; i.e, that some accounts of eye-witness ‘encounters’ sound so silly that you suspect they were dreamed up by the cartoonist who created Tom and Jerry.
The story of the siege of Sutton farm, in which a farmer and his family spent the whole night in 1955 holding at bay a little shining man, is so absurd that no one could be blamed for dismissing it with a shrug; yet all the evidence suggests that it is true.
The same applies to the preposterous story of the smoke-puffing robot which kept a hunter named Donald Shrum besieged up a tree all night.
There seems to be a ‘deliberate unbelievableness’ about many of these stories, as if they were designed to excite incredulity.
Another friend of mine, John Keel, investigated a series of sightings of a giant winged man with red eyes in West Virginia, and wrote a book about them called
The Mothman Prophecies
Again, most sensible people will feel that the simplest reaction to this mass of wild improbability is to dismiss it as invention; but Keel is backed up by dozens of newspaper reports.
What Keel’s book seems to show is that there is no clear dividing line between UFO phenomena and the ‘paranormal’—for example, poltergeist activity, telepathy, and precognition.
And in many books describing abduction phenomena, the line often dissolves completely.
Which brings me to the piece of evidence that I regard as perhaps most convincing so far: the Chilbolton ‘glyphs’, which appeared on the night of 13 August 2001, in a cornfield at Chilbolton, Hampshire, UK, next to the astronomical observatory of the same name.
Now the website of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) declares that the Chilbolton story is a fraud conceived by a sophisticated and technologically accomplished hoaxer.
Let me here offer my own reasons for disagreeing:
To begin with, the SETI website article (‘Is the latest Crop Circle a message from ET?’) takes it for granted that all crop circles are hoaxes.
(‘Finally, the whole matter of crop circles fails the baloney test, as Sagan would put it’.) I do not believe this—I will explain why in a moment—and I do not regard the late Carl Sagan as any kind of authority.
On the contrary, as this book will show, I regard him as in many ways a dubious publicity seeker and careerist, more concerned to maintain his reputation as the brilliant and sceptical representative of hard-headed science than to look squarely and honestly at the facts.
In short, a bit of a crook.
Moreover, I am fairly certain that, while many crop circles have been the work of hoaxers, a great many of them, possibly even the majority, are genuine.
But let me, just in case the reader is one of those rare people who reads introductions first, explain the nature of the controversy.
In 1974, ten years before SETI was formed, the world’s largest radio telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, decided to send a radio transmission into space, containing a coded message about human beings, towards a globular star cluster called M13 in the constellation of Hercules.
It would take the message just under twenty-three thousand years to arrive, so we shall not be around even if ETs from M13 send a reply.
The ‘picture’ was sent in binary code—that is, in noughts and ones.
It was in the form of a grid, mostly containing white squares (noughts), but with the ‘message’ in black squares (ones).
And it contained, among much else, a crude picture of a human being, with two legs and a head, the atomic numbers of the chemicals from which we are formed (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus), and a picture of the double helix of DNA.
It was twenty-seven years later, on the evening of 13 August 2001, in the cornfield next to the observatory at Chilbolton, what seemed to be a reply was received, in the form of ‘trample’ marks in the corn.
About five days later, there was yet another ‘transmission’.
The first, when photographed from the air, proved to be a picture of an ‘alien’ face, in which ‘trampled’ patches of corn were used as pixels in the manner of the dots in a newspaper photograph, while the second was a ‘reply’ to the Arecibo binary message apparently telling us about some ET recipients of the Arecibo message, and using the same code.
Now the main argument in favour of the genuineness of the Chilbolton messages is that it would be incredibly difficult for hoaxers ‘on the ground’ to fabricate such complex patterns without a network of strings forming squares laid across the field.
A sceptical friend of mine has told me that such strings were, in fact, seen before the appearance of the crop glyphs, but could not cite any reference from which I might determine if this was true.
His own view was the Chilbolton glyphs were manufactured by MI5, Britain’s espionage network, as deliberate disinformation.
But if so, then MI5 is a great deal cleverer than we have reason to believe, or than John LeCarré ever suspected.
Now it is true that the Chilbolton phenomena lack the element I have mentioned—of ‘deliberate unbelievableness’.
In fact, they seem quite straightforwardly logical.
It looks, quite simply, as if someone ‘out there’ intercepted the message or somehow ‘overheard’ it, and decided to reply.
The sceptic who wrote the debunking piece on the SETI website argues that the beam could not have been intercepted because it was directed straight at the Hercules constellation in a beam only one fifteenth of the diameter of the moon (i.e., about 144 miles wide), and that it should have had a straight run through empty space, without encountering any other body.
But it seems that there were three more transmissions, two on 30 June 1999, and one on 1 July, towards three nearby stars, according to the website of an electronics engineer named Dustin.
And since this was twenty-five years later than the original Arecibo transmission, it seems more likely that the Chilbolton ‘answer’ is to one of these rather than to the Arecibo beam, which is now fifty or so light years out in space.