The Phenomenon: Making the Incredible Credible

Preface: epistemology—the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

I have seen my fair share of documentaries about UFOs/aliens. Read a couple books, too, and watched a few seasons of Ancient Aliens. I’ve never seen either a UFO nor an alien, yet I have no doubt that they both exist, and that they have been hanging around Earth since before we littered it. My conviction is based on evidence—that’s my ‘method’. Epistemologically, from an absolute perspective, I would need to have in-person contact in order to say that these folks and their vehicles exist.

James Fox’s The Phenomenon is another bit of evidence in support of my belief. Of all the movies and shows of this ilk I’ve seen, this film is the most powerful, the most compelling, the most provocative. It is expertly produced, and features a seeming cornucopia of very high profiled witnesses who share their thoughts and experiences. I was stunned by film’s end despite having already seen and read so much information about UFOs. The film has the perfect narrator: Peter Coyote.

Some people are non-believers, some are believers, and some open to the possibility that extraterrestrials exists. All should see The Phenomenon.

Here is an incomplete list of names featured in the film:

Senator Harry Reid

President Bill Clinton

President Gerald Ford

John Podesta, White House Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and advisor to Barack Obama

Bill Richardson, Former Governor of New Mexico

Christopher Mellon, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

Fife Symington, Former Governor of Arizona

Dr. John Mack

George Knapp, Investigative Journalist

Dr. Garry Nolan, Rachford and Carlota A. Harris Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Jacques Vallee, who was portrayed by Francois Truffaut in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

NASA Astronauts and more




YouTube Trailer


Coda: For non-believers, below is an essay which provides the aforementioned evidence regarding my becoming a true believer.

Extraterrestrial Intelligence

“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
Paul Simon

“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
The Guy Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays

It began at grocery store checkout stands—magazine racks displaying the latest copy of The Inquirer. Occasionally there would be a front page photo of an alien accompanied by some outrageous headline. After so many exposures to tabloid stories and photos it became obvious aliens have really broken bad. They have an unquenchable anal fetish. Of all the possible things ‘in Heaven and Earth’ they would want from us humans! Probing our butts?!

I paid no attention. The existence of alien life and intelligence could not be proved or disproved. Unless one has a direct experience, it’s just someone’s story or evidence. In our cyber era that idea is more pertinent being that we can create all sorts of evidence. I ignored anything and everything about extraterrestrial intelligence. I was, and still am, struggling to find my own.

Then, a few things happened.

First, the repetition of stories of that ilk from various other sources. Movie movies—E.T.Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

A television movie, Roswell, staring Dwight Yoakam, Martin Sheen, Kyle MacLachlan, and Xander Berkeley.

I began to take more seriously the metaphor of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey as a symbol which intimates alien interventions in our evolution—that is, they contributed to our DNA. We have met the aliens, and they are us.

I saw Fire in the Sky, a movie based upon a 1975 experience in Arizona. The experiencer, Travis Walton, had his Fifteen Minutes of Fame by sharing his story in his book of the same name. The controversy surrounding the event was not so much the event itself as it was the taking of lie detector tests by several witnesses. Most of them passed the test two consecutive times. The probability of that result—if the participants were lying—is less than miniscule.

Two students in my graduate program spoke of their experiences. I knew both, and found them to be serious, reliable sources of information. These were particularly sobering conversations.

Around 1980, I learned that the then governor of New Mexico had filed an FOI request with the United States government for information related to the 1947 ‘Roswell Incident.’ Anyone could request a complimentary copy of the material subsequently shared by our government with the Governor’s office. I requested, and six months later received a thick 9X12 manila envelope. I went through the dozens or more pages of this report. A large number of the paragraphs were redacted. Why?

I watched Sightings, a television series about metaphysical phenomena including aliens and UFOs which was on the air during the years 1992-1997. Henry Winkler—Fonzie from Happy Days—was one of the show’s producers. What stood out was the large number of distinguished military and law enforcement officials who shared experiences of UFOs.

I watched three seasons of The History Channel’s series, Ancient Aliens. These programs include lots of cheesy stories and ideas—but they also feature utterly mystifying evidence that point to alien interventions in our past.

In the mid-1980s I met a DJ from a major FM pop station at a party. As we spoke I learned he had been an air traffic controller early in his career. He told a supervisor he saw a UFO one time, and was told there would be serious repercussions for him if he were to go public with his experience.

I read two books—Abduction and Passport to the Cosmos—by the late John Mack, M.D., a Harvard psychiatrist who found himself treating people suffering from PTSD who vividly recounted alien abductions. Predictably, the Harvard establishment attempted to have Mack kicked out. They failed.

Mack died tragically and ironically while attending a London conference on the after-death state. Taking field research to the extreme, he was hit by a drunk driver.

Crop Circles: Over the decades I’ve heard about circles with simple or elaborate designs appearing—many overnight—on Earth. These are epistemologically challenging phenomena. With our Internet, and especially, Facebook, I have been able to keep up with the appearance of new circles. Perhaps it is a limit of my imagination, but I simply cannot conceive how—with the more elaborate designs—a group of humans can create these designs in the dead of one night. If humans do such, why hasn’t the complete act of creation been video recorded?

Where is the ‘win’ in believing or disbelieving in extraterrestrial intelligence? Your choice is nothing more or less than an aspect of your identity, your character. Some on both sides of the question benefit by advancing their respective positions publicly. Some pay a price for doing so.

If and when there is mass experience of alien intelligence and/or governments of powerful nations acknowledging such intelligence, the identity of our entire species, our world view, will be threatened and altered—to make an understatement. This time period would be called “AD’—‘After Disclosure’, and there are those who believe we already live in humanity’s AD.

(Pictured: James Fox by David E. West)

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