Book Review: Flying Saucers Over The Whitehouse
Written By: Paranormal News
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I recently had a chance to sit down and read “Flying Saucers over the White House” by Colin Bennet, published by Cosimo Books, which recounts the story of Edward J. Ruppelt and his investigations with Project Blue Book in the 1950s. To me, the book itself is a very difficult read as it constantly made references and comparisons to classical literature when discussing UFOs that in many situations seemed quite out of place, if not absurd. I understand every author brings their own neural network of thoughts to the table when creating books, but the comparisons always seemed to be impossible stretches that was distracting to me more so than enjoyable. For instance, at one stage of the book, Edward Ruppelt was compared to Francis Bacon, and I could not help but roll my eyes.
Despite what I felt were stylistic difficulties, this short book became well worth the read starting at page 45 in a section entitled ’The New Ufology’ in which Bennett states Ufology needs to get away from the passive listing of countless cases and integrate itself with the latest development in psychology and mathematics. As an example of this, Bennett compares UFOs to the Escher-Penrose ’impossible’ triangle where there is a distortion of perception. He uses this to springboard into the concept of a ’liminal object’ with the UFO being one of these liminal elements within society at large.
But what is a liminal object? In Bennett’s own words, it is something hovering between past and future, real and unreal, fact and fiction. Other liminal objects at one time included the steam engine, the germ, the cell, the atom, and the molecule. To the author, UFOs themselves share similar properties, as they seem both possible and impossible at the same time, beyond direct perception. The UFO, like an Escher-Penrose triangle, cannot be directly measured, and as such, they will seemingly always exist just outside of possibility.
Matching up ’shared reality’ with your own personal perception often seems to be quite impossible, as we give in to the pressures of the group, giving up our own perception for the shared one, most often handed to us through the media and the church. When you attempt to stick with your own perceptions, however, it is quite nerve-wracking and completely stressful, indeed, and you wonder if you have gone mad because you cannot share it easily with others.
As an example, when I sensed that my router had been hacked, I was able to gather what I felt to be evidence to piece together a certain reality, whereas other people would not have noticed any of what I noticed. “You could be making it all up,” I heard them say, but at the same time, I felt as if I was making up nothing. There was a mountain of evidence for me to sift through. For instance, my VOIP phone had a webserver on it that I had never noticed using a default username and password, and port 4000 open on the device which is a service linked to a ’remote spying’ application. Who put it there? I had User directories shared that I did not personally share myself. I would sit in my router and monitor my DHCP server and could see computers log in with mac addresses that I never had seen before. When I kicked off those Mac addresses, all computers still worked. 30 minutes later, I would be booted from my own network as another computer with the same name and mac address would appear, kicking me offline. Mac address cloning is illegal, and here I could see evidence of it. Living in a city, it was highly possible someone within my apartment complex was doing it. I checked all my router security logs and saw 7 months of records, gone. Every time it rebooted on its own, the logs were erased. It felt like I was chasing a ghost. Was I being hacked? Was it all just natural? The answer to that question was liminal, as I could find evidence which would give me an answer that could go either way. I chose to believe, and as such, it turned my life over the next month into a living hell as I attempted to prevent it from happening again, changing my own view of the need for anonymity online.
All this stuff was occurring at the same time I was reading Bennett’s book, so it really drove home his concept of liminality. Liminal states are considered rites of passage in which a decision needs to be made, a decision which you cannot go back to a previous state, but there is no clear answer, nor do you know what will happen by choosing to see it one way over the other. The optical illusion seems to go in two directions at once. Perceptions clash completely and absolutely, and you must choose one for the sake of your own sanity. UFOs are objects in states of transition, and as such, they bring humanity into a new state of being. They have divided people into two groups—those who have chosen not to believe, and those who choose to believe. Once this choice has made, it makes these individuals lean more heavily on the use of one way of thinking over another. As such you will find certain links in the way a believer thinks vs. that of a disbeliever. It affects that individual’s world view, and as such, they are a true rite of passage, segmenting society into independently functioning groups.
As a whole, this website is set up to explore the world view of those who believe in unusual things most often aligned with superstitions and creative thinking. I have found common threads in it all as a result which give more weight to the ’possibility’ of the impossible. And it wasn’t until I read Bennett’s small book where I had discovered a word for these fulcrum-like elements. So despite my own distaste for his style of writing, I appreciated what I felt was its central theme. Although it may be difficult to get through, once you finish, you will be glad you read it. So pick it up when you get a chance.