Nine Theories of Extraterrestrial Contact
A Brief Inventory of the Leading Paradigms
These are categories more than theories; within each definition a number of theories are possible. However, as categories, they do present a comprehensive overview of current ways of viewing the ET/UFO phenomenon, i.e., an inventory of the operative paradigms. Each category contains particular authors and researchers who fit with it (not a complete list, but just some suggestions). Some authors might fit into more than one category: for instance, Sitchin dominates category 3, but he could also go in 4, because of his reliance on Biblical material (especially the life and activities of the patriarch Abraham), as well as in category 7, because some elements of his work are close to, if not identical with, von Daniken. There are close parallels, and some important overlaps, between categories 8 and 9.
I exclude Star Trek/Star Wars spinoffs and sci-fi-related material in books and film, which is massive. Also, I do not delve into reports of diverse and warring aliens, friends and foes. There are simply too many variations to cover. But in general outlines, these complex, multi-species scenarios will fall into one or more of the categories listed. All theories exemplify intervention theory, defined in the Lexicon.
This inventory is nowhere near complete, but perhaps it will provide a helpful provisional framework for discussion. Readers are welcome to send comments and suggestions to John Lash.
1, The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. Aliens who belong to a technologically advanced civilization from somewhere in outer space made contact with the US government (and others, perhaps) in 1947, or earlier. The aliens cut a deal, offering to trade their advanced technology for the right to experiment with the population (Corso, The Day After Roswell). Source of innumerable conspiracy theories and nightmare tales of CIA mind control, cattle mutilations, undergound labs, etc. Proponents: Timothy Good, David Icke, George C. Andrews (who carefully distinguishes between extraterrestrial friends and foes), and many others. This theory assumes that the aliens have an advanced interbreeding program (David Jacobs, The Threat), and that their aims are not at all benign but downright sinister.
2, The Benevolent ("Space Brothers") Hypothesis. Assumes various kinds of intervention, motivated by kind and helpful intent on the part of the aliens; or possibly as part of their program for boosting or initiating humanity to a more advanced level of conscousness. Most well-known example, Whitley Streiber´s "visitors," and the Billy Meier Pleiadian scenario. After much research and reticence, the late John Mack (Passport to the Cosmos) also adopted this view. Includes the earliest contactees such as George Adamski, whose tall blond Venusians came to warn humanity about immanent self-destruction, pollution of the environment, etc. Earliest modern prototype for this theory, the "Lords of the Flame" (also from Venus) in the theosophical scenario of Madame Blavatsky.
3, The Sumerian File. Includes all theories centrally based on the Annunaki scenario found in Sumerian clay tablets, the oldest written documents on earth. Main proponent, Zecharia Sitchin, who maintains that the Annunaki descended to earth, founded civilization, and instituted theocracy. He also claims that these aliens come from Nibiru, the outermost member of our Solar System, with an orbital period of 3600 years, but this claim has not (to my knowledge) been astronomically verified. Spinoffs: Lawrence Gardner, Anton Parks, and many others. (This category is unique in its reliance on ancient textual evidence. Compare to category 9.) The Annunaki are space masters rather than space brothers. The Sumerian myth says they created humanity by genetic boosting of an apelike native population, so that humans could serve as their slaves.
4, Biblical UFOlogy. Includes hybrid and crossover theories that develop category 2 specifically in the context of the Old and New Testaments. Draws heavily on Apocryphal writings, especially the Book of Enoch with its famous account of "the Watchers," believed to be fallen angles. Uses a straightforward and literal-minded equation between aliens and angels. Proposes that angels described in the Bible — such as those seen in the visions of Ezekiel, or the one who wrestled with Jacob at the Jabbok ford on the Jordan River, or the Angel Gabriel who announced the birth of Jesus to Mary — were ET entities who are assumed to have a benevolent attitude toward humanity, consistent with the fulfillment of "God's plan."
Some of the angels may be fallen, but the leading assumption here is that the angel/ETs are on the side of the Father God, and the Father God is working for humanity (not against it, as the Gnostic theory, category 9, asserts). Epitomized in the Raelian cult with emphasis on the genetic creation of humanity by god-like ETs.
This category reflects the deep religiosity of ET/UFO speculation, as well as its naivete and attraction to the divine parental image. In some rare instances, Biblical UFOlogists approach the views of category 9 and challenge the identity and motives of the Creator God: e.g., Christian O'Brien, The Genius of the Few, and A. D. Horne, Humanity´s Extraterrestrial Origins. These are both intelligent, sobering books.
5, The Mind Control Hypothesis. Largely developed by Jacques Vallee in a brilliant manner. He called the ET/UFO phenomenon "a spiritual control system." Equally so, John Keel (UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse) has explored this angle with sober and startling insight. Includes the influential writings of C. G. Jung. Also, Demonic Reality by Patrick Harpur. ETs are projections of imagination, or the collective unconscious, intrapsychic phantoms, psychic shapeshifters, etc. The most intellectually sophisticated category (apart from 9, which incorporates it), it assumes that the Phenomenon (as Keel calls it) is totally real, but not in the sense that it appears to be. It operates as a “inboard" control system, rather than a miraculous event or supernatural intervention.
6, New Age or Visionary theories. Found in numerous versions which tend to proliferate wildly. Materials employed to develop this thesis are largely drawn from channelled writings. Examples are The Prism of Lyra and The Only Planet of Choice. New Age theories of alien contact tend to present a mixed bag of grand, starry-eyed plans and divine intentions involving a diverse cast of non-human species, some benevolent and some otherwise.
7, Ancient Astronauts, the Von Daniken Hypothesis, which has spawned a wide range of spinoffs. Take away all the smoke and ladders and this is simply a "cargo cult" interpretation of alien contact. Although von Daniken steered clear of these explosive issues (Swiss neutrality?), the mystique of ancient astronauts attaches itself readily to the worst fringe element in modern thinking: i.e., crypto-fascism. We hear tales of Hitler escaping to South America in a saucer donated by his alien allies. Catastrophic theories of the Ice Ages and hollow-earth fantasias proliferate in this category. For a good critique, see Jocelyn Godwin, Arktos. Bear in mind that von Daniken´s artifactual and archeological evidence has been largely dismissed as fraudulent and fantastical. (We tend to assume that an advanced race would have advanced technology - but would it be that kind of technology, i.e., headphones and such gadgets?)
8. Shamanic – Indigenous – Otherworld. The most traditional of all nine categories because it draws upon world-wide folk-lore and mythology, for instance, the Aboriginal lore of Australia and the testimony of Zulu shaman, Credo Mutwa (who claims that the alien spirits are malevolent). Classic work: The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by E. A. Evans-Wentz, which inspired Jacques Vallee, plus Vallee´s own, Passage to Magonia. Includes the intentional production of living phantoms (tulpas) demonstrated in Tibetan Buddhism (Alexandria David-Neel, Magic and Mystery in Tibet), Kachinas in the magical rites of the American southwest (Frank Waters, The Book of the Hopi), and many reports from shamanic cultures, including ayahuascueros of the Amazon and urban DMT trippers. Carried to a level of high sophistication by the "Gnostic astronaut,," Terence McKenna in his speculations on the UFO-mushroom connection (The Archaic Revival).
9. ET/Archon theory, or the Gnostic theory of alien intrusion. Specific to JLL and the Gnostic material on Metahistory.org. To my knowledge, only Nigel Kerner (The Song of the Greys) is the only other author who equates modern Grey ETs with the Archons of Gnostic writings, but he does not develop this idea in depth, textually. Through Metahistory.org I do just that. The ET/Archon Navigator takes you to the relevant articles.
This theory relies on the most solid and complete textual evidence from antiquity: the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Codices. It assumes that Gnostic teachers in the Pagan Mystery Schools were accomplished shamans who used paranormal powers such as remote viewing to detect aliens, as well techniques of psychic self-defence, to resist and repel them. About one-fifth of the surviving Gnostic materials are concerned with the ET/Archons, their motives, methods, appearances, tactics, etc. Their most accomplished power is said to be HAL, "simulation, substitution," i.e., virtual reality. They are imposters allied with the false Creator God (the Demiurge), Jehovah, who is working against humanity.
Kerner assumes that Archons have deeply penetrated our genetic makeup, but Gnostic writings support the view that they have only duped us into believing this is so, whereas they are in reality incapable of reaching or breaching the genomic intelligence we embody. Their victory lies in make-believe, getting us to act out what they pretend to be doing to us. Their work through insinuation.
Gnostic cosmology is closely related to the modern Gaia theory of Lovelock and Margulis, for which it presents an ancient prototype. Gnostic writings explain the cosmic origin of the predatory ETs (both the fetal or embryonic and reptilian types), which no other theory can do. Our planet Gaia plays a key role in their presence in our minds and lives. The Archons are a spinoff of the intelligence of the divine being, Sophia, who is embodied in our planet, but they are not compatible with human intelligence, so they inhabit the solar system at large, apart from the earth - this is the Mystery teaching. (Gnostics taught that the earth does not properly belong to the planetary system, but is captured in it.) Archons introduce a deviant skew into human evolution. Our responsibility is to detect and correct it. In this way we align ourselves with Gaia, the planetary intelligence that initially produced the Archon species.
The Gnostic codices found in Egypt in 1945 warn explicitly that these predatory alien entities infiltrate our minds through spiritual belief systems. These systems, especially the Judeo-Christian-Islamic program of salvation, are not entirely of human origin, but arise in our minds due to non-human deviance. Salvationism is an ideological virus of extraterrestrial origin. Jehovah is a demented pseudo-diety who pretends to be our creator. Gnostics detected the presence of ETs in the same forms reported today. The Nag Hammadi texts contain firsthand accounts of alien abduction. But at a more profound level, the ancient seers who guarded the Mysteries also discerned the operations of the inhumane Archontic mind in the religious ideologies that are today tearing humanity apart at the seams.
jll: Feb 2006
Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2014 by John Lash.