You know that old adage: “Call a man a dog once and you insult him; call him a dog a thousand times and he may start barking.”
Well, that's the effect I get when I read one UFO book after another. After five or six of these things, I find myself thinking: “Well, by golly, maybe we really are being visited by aliens, alternate dimensional beings, intruders from a parallel universe – or just whatever the hell they are.”
Both authors are seasoned veterans at writing about the UFO phenomenon, cutting their teeth by reporting for that spectacular glossy publication of the 1980s, OMNI Magazine.
The MacGregors are not only well-trucked in UFO literature; they are accomplished and prolific fiction novelists. That means they bring highly polished wordsmithing skills to crafting highly controversial nonfiction. So skeptics beware -- these writers can pull you in.
The MacGregors focus on four individual cases of real people who encountered the unimaginably strange, and then struggled mightily to come to grips with the eschatological shock of having their paradigms shattered. The authors do a marvelous job of presenting these accounts as believable, captivating – and frightening.
These four case studies serve as a platform for the authors to expand on other aspects of UFO phenomenon. They include some of their personal investigations, such as their travels to the Chilean island of Chiloe, where centuries of fabulous legend combine with the modern elements of “alien” abductions and apparitions. It’s interesting stuff.
But, you know, an integral element of ufology is that it naturally produces confusion, confounding contradictions and a tendency for the discussion to devolve into the ridiculous. With that in mind, there are a couple of areas where the MacGregors fall prey to those notorious bugaboos of UFO lore – conspiracy theories and apocalyptic scenarios.
A major buzzword in ufology today is “Disclosure.” This speaks to the idea that the U.S. government – and apparently with the cooperation of all other world governments, who can’t cooperate on anything else – know the truth about UFOs and aliens, and they’re all colluding to hide the astounding truth from the public.
And so there is a movement among ufologists to demand “Disclosure.” That is, they insist that governments finally come clean, tell us what they know, and stop hiding the most important story in human history from all of us, the common rabble.
All of this is patently ridiculous.
I can criticize the Disclosure nonsense on many levels. I partially did so in my review of Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel’s book A.D. After Disclosure (see my review here: DISCLOSURE REVIEW) The authors reference Dolan and Zybel to their detriment.
I have other quibbles as well.
The authors trot out – yet again -- the purely asinine quotes of Ronald Reagan regarding alien life from other planets. You know, Ronald Reagan, the President who said that air pollution is caused by trees, a year’s waste from a nuclear power plant could be stored “under a desk,” and that he didn’t know enough about astrology to understand if it was real or not. (This after it was revealed his wife was consulting with an astrologer to help plan the schedule of the President of the United States).
Ronald Reagan spewed all kinds of shoot-from-the-hips folksy quips and quotes (including unwittingly saying into a live mike that he would start bombing the Soviet Union “in 10 minutes”) – yet UFO folks have latched on to his comments about aliens as if they were the most hallowed of “smoking gun” slips. It’s absurd.
|Trish and Rob MacGregor|
The authors make a lot of hay about statistics which show that millions of people believe that UFOs and aliens are real – but this is meaningless. A recent poll showed that as much as 52% of people in some areas of the Deep South believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim. This does not make Obama a Muslim – it just means that millions of people are easily deluded.
Other aspects of the book trouble me as well – such as the marvelous psychics the authors seem to have access to. For example, in one case, they bring to a psychic a vial of holy water that an abductee has been carrying around in his pocket to frustrate “evil beings” that continue to torment him after a bizarre visitation event.
With a mere touch of the vial, the psychic is able to spin off astounding detail about the situation of the owner. She provides a detailed analysis which matches almost point by point the scenario that is vexing the "experiencer."
All this is well and good – but it can’t help but make me think – with psychics of such astounding clarity of vision out there – why then can’t they turn their penetrating powers on some of the other UFO mysteries that the authors are concerned about?
Why, for example, can’t these obviously marvelously gifted psychics get to the bottom of the Disclosure issue? Why can’t they ferret out details of what the government knows, or who knows what, and provide at least decent clues to investigative journalists -- to help them gain some traction on the government cover-up issue? But they never seem to apply their amazing powers in this way.
Quibbles aside – the closing impression I want to leave is that this is among the best UFO books I have read in a long time. The areas of concern I mention are relatively minor compared to the overall information Rob and Trish MacGregor present in these pages.
My judgment of the authors is that they are sincere, thorough, and intelligent. They are even more balanced in their approach many other UFO writers I have read recently. Aliens In The Back Yard is a fascinating, well-written, highly entertaining read.
Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA