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Jacques Vallee's "Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers" still packs punch

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BOOK  REVIEW: Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers by Jacques Vallee (Daily Grail Publishing) 2014/ 1969

Having further familiarized myself with the 50-plus year old writings of John A. Keel these past few months, finally getting down and reading long-loved cult classics like Operation Trojan Horse (1970) and The Mothman Prophecies (1975), the repeated references to the works of French-American scientist and ufologist Jacques Vallee – a contemporary, and friend, of the late John A. Keel – finally convinced me that Vallee’s own classic, Passport to Magonia, was required reading.

Why? Because Keel, in his entertaining and entirely readable way, helped pull away the masks of the manipulative pranksters (“ultraterrestrials”) of the Superspectrum, essentially reporting that these entities have taken on different guises over the millennia –and that they have always shared our planet, despite humanity not knowing who they really are or where they live.

They are here. It’s just they are the ones who decide when they appear before human beings and in what form. Most commonly, in the Middle Ages, they were seen as the fairies and elves of ancient folklore, and so forth.

But with time came change and the “costumes” and methods also changed, as we entered the age of the airplane and the “Space Age,” with the  increased appearance of “craft,” allegedly piloted by “aliens” who are here to help mankind and steer us to a New Age, or so we are told.

And so it is interesting how both Keel and Vallee both tapped into the idea that took them from believing the extraterrestrial angle regarding aliens and UFOs to promoting the interdimensional idea, which dismisses the theory that the "visitors" are travelers from another planet.

On the day I began reading Passport to Magonia (Nov. 16th), I later learned that I was reading the book on the 40th anniversary of the release of the Steven Spielberg-directed film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In this film, a French scientist character named Lacombe (played by Francois Truffaut) was directly inspired by Vallee. 

In any event, Passport to Magonia ("Magonia" being a mythological "cloud realm" populated by the entities so often encountered during modern cases of UFO sightings or in antiquity) highlights the idea, as Vallee writes in the preface, that "investigators (into UFOs) have never recognized the fact that belief identical to those held today have recurred throughout recorded history and under forms best adapted to the believer's country, race, and social regime." 

Vallee also admits that when he wrote the manuscript for Passport to Magonia in the late 1960's, he "entirely forgot that I was a scientist by profession," confessing that he felt science was not pursuing questions that human beings have in their hearts. And as a scientist, he opted to delve into the lengthy history of folklore, from around the world, and in Europe and the Americas in particular, noting the large number of strange beings, aerial craft ("cloudships") and other odd events that perplexed man and woman alike over the centuries.

And what better way to interfere with the destiny of human beings as we become more technologically advanced. The forces that are appearing in various forms (short beings, tall beings, male or female, with masks, gas masks, helmets, long hair, no hair, big eyes, small eyes, mouth movement or telepathy ...) over the years seem to understand that, as Vallee writes, "(h)uman actions are based on imagination, belief, and faith, not on objective observation ..." Yes, we are human and fallible. 

Continuing, Vallee writes: "Even science, which claims its methods and theories are rationally developed, is really shaped by emotion and fancy, or by fear. And to control human imagination is to shape mankind's collective destiny, provided the source of this control is not identifiable by the public." Indeed!

From the fairies, "wee folk" "Gentry," "Good People," and dwarves that haunted to European countryside to today's seemingly solid "flying saucers," Vallee makes valid arguments that the phenomenon, over the centuries, are one and the same, as the book's cover seems to indicate.

But the cases are utterly fascinating - and shocking! Some involve pleasurable sex with alien women, as in the case of Brazlian famer Antonio Villas-Boas, back in 1957. 

And going back to 17th century Scotland and the research of a Reverend Kirk, of Aberfoyle, he wrote a manuscript at the time titled The Secret Commonwealth of the Elves, Fauns and Fairies. Kirk offered up 16 bullet points about these "Elementals" who have "chameleon-like bodies" and have "fluid" bodies that allow them to appear and vanish at will. Sounds like many of the latter-day UFO sightings from folks who say they saw a craft one second and the next second it was gone. 

The strange 1896-97 airship scare was particularly baffling, with Vallee recounting the case of a train engineer working near Texarkana, Arkansas (near Homan in Miller County) and while out hunting in May 1897, encountered an "airship" and a pilot, with whom he conversed. Was this a human? Was it something else? People all over the country, particularly in the middle of the country, were seeing these airships.

So, what happened to the First Fourth Norfolk, a British regiment fighting in what is now western Turkey in 1915? These men marched into a strange cloud at ground level and hundreds of British soldiers "disappeared" as the cloud lifted and the soldiers had vanished. The Turks told the British government they did not have these men as prisoners of war, not even knowing of their existence.

Then there is the curous case of Private First Class Gerry Irwin, a Nike nuclear missile technician stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, near El Paso. On Feb. 28, 1959, Irwin was driving between Nampa, Idaho and Fort Bliss when passing near Cedar City, Utah, he thought he saw a plane crash nearby. Going to investigate, Irwin would lose track of time and later be found unconscious.

Irwin was soon hospitalized and was found to be in decent health, and later discharged from the hospital at Fort Bliss. But life would not be the same for Irwin, as Vallee tells us the doomed man fell unconscious on an El Paso street and later felt compelled to take a bus to Cedar City, where the initial event had taken place, and find his jacket, which was still on a bush where he had left it.

Writes Vallee: "There was a pencil in a buttonhole with a piece of paper wound tightly around it. He took the paer and burned it. Then he seemed to come out of a trance." Irwin was perplexed as to why he was back in Utah. More psychological examinations were ordered, but by summer, it seemed Irwin had other plans, as he would soon disappear. 

"On August 1," writes Vallee, "(Irwin) failed to report for duty. One month later he was listed as a deserter. He was never seen again.

Where did Private Irwin go? Is this the whole story? 

It seems as though the entities that are bedeviling humanity seem to have a particular interest in folks serving in the military. And the Irwin case, we must note, took place during those early, volatile years of the Cold War, when nuclear war was considered a real threat. 

And while Passport to Magonia is only 160 pages or so, there is a lengthy appendix to go over, followed by Vallee's collection of "UFO landings" over a century's time, from 1868 to 1968. One of the more interesting cases - and there are many! - were on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, 1965 here in Oklahoma City. On Aug 2, "five children saw a brilliant, round object without wings, close to the ground int he 600 block of NW 63rd Street, which, even today, is an open area with railroad tracks crossing it. The following day, on Aug. 3rd, "a young man saw an object rise from (Lake Hefner)." The distance between the two locations is several miles.

Passport to Magonia has earned its rightful place as an essential tome covering the more occult and folkloric angles in these ongoing mysteries that continue to perplex us to this day.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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