Last Word: Addressing "High Strangeness", The Key Barrier That Suppresses Public Attention
On June 20 2023, New York Times columnist Ezra Klein interviewed writer/reporter Leslie Klein and shared his discomfort with "fringe" expressions from a scientist associated with aerospace companies and government contract work that apparently included him being aware of inside-government UFO knowledge. Journalists, academics, government leaders and, in the end, all of us will likely find it difficult to face reported elements at the core of UFO phenomenon that have been characterized as examples of "High Strangeness". Facing all that will entail going into "fringe" spaces, arousing discomfort.
In a historical overview introducing the 2-volumed content of the 2018 3rd edition of The UFO Encyclopedia, historian Jerome Clark observed that "certainly, where UFOs are concerned, an object that shows up on radar or leaves anomalous traces on the ground where it was seen to land may be assumed to exist in the world" yet "no comparable evidence exists for the reality of many of the high-strangeness phenomena". Clark states that few reporting encounter witnesses or experiencers are afflicted with mental illness and hallucinating, so that along with outright attention-seeking hoaxsters, do not account for the bulk of reports that include puzzling high strangeness elements. It could be as Clark ponders: "Most high-strangeness phenomena are evidence of nothing so much as our ignorance, or of our constricted view of the possibilities of human experience."
In 1978 the UN General Assembly was considering a proposal from Grenada for the establishment of a UN agency that would address the issue of UFOs. At that time Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a university astronomer who served decades also as a consultant on UFO cases for the United States Air Force, addressed the Assembly and noted the impact and importance of "high strangeness", a term he created:
"It is a phenomenon so strange and foreign to our daily terrestrial mode of thought that it is met by ridicule and derision by personsd organizations unacquainted with the facts...."
He further observed:
"We have a record of many tens of thousands of UFO reports...[They] include extremely intriguing and provocative accounts of strange events experienced by highly reputable persons....[These are] events which challenge our present conception of the world about us and which may indeed may signal a need for a change in some of our concepts". (Quote taken from the 2004 book by Laura Knight-Jadczyk, "The High Strangeness of Dimensions, Densities,band the Process of Alien Abductions")
Many of the papers and articles at this site identify and illustrate high strangeness features common in many reports of encounters with UFOs and the beings associated with them. For example, this one charts many such features based on several case studies:
Another article here references a list of unusual capacities and phenomena, based on reported events, experiences and apparently experiments:
The beginning of that article gives a sense of the high strangeness phenomena:
"Looking at the traits evident in close encounters of the 3rd and 4th kind, we see beings with capacities and an awareness far beyond the common attainment of human beings. In fact, based on those types of cases, the Pentagon program known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) produced a slide for apparently internal presentations and which we know about from it emerging after it was found at an unsecured page at Christopher Mellon’s website. (Mellon is a former Deputy Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.)
It is now known famously as Slide 9. Its contents:
'DoD Threat Scenario (AATIP Sub-Focus Areas)
The science exists for an enemy of the United States to manipulate both physical and cognitive environments in order to penetrate U.S. facilities, influence decision makers, and compromise national security
— Psychotronic weapons
— Cognitive Human Interface
— Penetration of solid surfaces
— Instantenous sensor disassembly
— Alteration/Manipulation of biological organisms
— Anomalies in the space/time construct
— Unique cognitive interface experiences' .
— DoD has been involved in similiar experiments in the past
— DoD has relationships with renowned subject matter experts
— DoD controls several facilities where activities have been detectedWhat was considered “phenomena” is now quantum physics."
The above list matches much of what has been frequently reported as aspects of encounter experiences: communication via telepathy; ability to instill or trigger virtual reality images and memories; affect a person's neurology, level of awareness; ability to move through solid objects (bright light energy seems to enable alien actions here); ability to just appear and disappear. And, more that puzzles and shocks.
It is safe to say that for many academics and academic institutions these phenomena don't exist outside literary imaginings and hallucinatory psychotic perceptions. Since academics seem to generally regard these types of reported things as pseudoscientific delusions, the high strangeness features have effectively served as a barrier for any significant scientific examination being directed towards the UFO/UAP mystery.
Many online discussions among students of this long-standing mystery have reflected a widespread anxiety over any attention being directed to what is often called the "woo". The "woo" aspects, it's often said, should be downplayed, the "nuts and bolts" aspects (more understandable to us) emphasized. But, there's a grudging or reluctant acknowledgement that facing the "woo" is inevitable.
As of the Summer of 2023, that time may be soon. Congressional and press attention is deepening.
The area of quantum level physics may be key in trying to understand some of these hard-to-believe phenomena. Also, there are some academic databases developed through experiments and field investigations that may prove helpful: the material at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia comes to mind, for example. The link for that:
In a few of the cases here, astonished humans have expressed wonderment at some of the extraordinary things they have just witnessed a non human being exhibit.....and being told by this non human intelligence that such capacities were potentials that we humans could also manifest.
So, some of future studies will likely focus on developing or rediscovering tools for extended perceptions and capacities, of the sort seemingly so strange to us.....for now anyway.