Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jack Kirby, Mindbomb: "The Ultimate Life Form"

My recent Operation Trojan Horse re-read wasn't merely on a whim- it was inspired by a brief passage in Nick Redfern's new book The Pyramids and the Pentagon, almost an afterthought in the context of the book. 

But it tied back to research Nick has done on the topic of "sentient ghost lights," which he wrote about on Mysterious Universe last year.
The report says that on rare occasions plasmas can cause responses in the temporal-lobe area of the human brain, leading observers to suffer extended memory retention and repeat experiences. This, the report’s author believes, may be ‘a key factor in influencing the more extreme reports [that] are clearly believed by the victims.’” Dr. Greg Little, commenting on such unidentified balls of light, says: “Persinger’s primary interest has been in the nearly unbelievable effects the plasma’s magnetic field has on human consciousness…Persinger’s research indicates that people who come into close contact with these charged plasma forms experience altered states of consciousness producing a host of strange visions,” including UFO abductions.
Now I knew this was nothing new, but I'm fascinated by the fact that many skeptics will acknowledge that these fireballs exist and may indeed have a powerful effect on human consciousness. 

 The difference being is that skeptics believe it's all some kind of fluke-- some big ol' misunderstanding, you understand-- while a considerable body of thinking in the alt.UFOlogy world sees these beings as sentient, perhaps interdimensional life forms of almost unimaginable power and influence. 

And so I went back to Keel and then Vallee to refresh my memory on this phenomenon.

Now with Keel you have to expect a bit of blarney, a bit of bluster. But few others took the time to catalog UFO reports and interview witnesses first-hand. And after reviewing thousands of reports, Keel came to a definitive conclusion as to what the UFO phenomenon was and what the phenomenon was not. 

From Trojan Horse:
Most of these were of luminous objects that behaved in peculiar, unnatural ways. The great majority of all sightings throughout history have been of "soft" luminous objects, or objects that were transparent, translucent, changed size and shape, or appeared and disappeared suddenly. 
Sightings of seemingly solid metallic objects have always been quite rare...The scope, frequency and distribution of the sightings make the popular extraterrestrial (interplanetary) hypothesis completely untenable.
Ufologists have constructed elaborate theories about flying saucer propulsion and antigravity. But we cannot exclude the possibility that these wondrous "machines" are made of the same stuff as our disappear­ing houses, and they don't fly-they levitate. 
They are merely temporary intrusions into our reality or space-time continuum, momentary manipu­lations of electromagnetic energy.
Jacques Vallee was another heretic to the ETH priesthood. In his 1989 book, Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact Vallee wrote, "To put it bluntly, the UFO phenomenon does not give evidence of being extraterrestrial at all. Instead it appears to be inter-dimensional and to manipulate physical realities outside of our own space-time continuum." 

Vallee expanded upon Keel's basic theories on the UFO phenomenon and its effect on human consciousness (much to Keel's consternation, at least in the early days), bringing a greater understanding of science and physics to the table. 

From an interview with Vallee:
(The UFO Phenomenon) seems to involve a lot of energy in a small space; it seems to involve pulsed microwaves, among other things. There isn't much that is known about the effect of pulsed microwaves on the brain, so it's quite possible that some of the stories that you get from people are essentially induced hallucinations in sincere witnesses--the witnesses are not lying. 
They really have been exposed to something genuine but there is no way to go back to what that thing was, based on their description, because their brain has been affected by proximity to that energy. 
Having said that, I have plenty of colleagues in science and technology I respect who tell me this could be a natural phenomenon--this could be an undiscovered form of energy in the atmosphere. 
We don't know much about the effect of electromagnetic fields on the nervous system. We're going to be discovering that as we go. 
So, it's quite possible that there could be a phenomenon like that, a very spontaneous thing. Or it could be artificial. If it's artificial it could come from another form of consciousness, which may or may not be extraterrestrial.
Whatever the ultimate source of the phenomenon, there is one thing that many alt.UFOlogists and even more impartial observers agree on: this phenomenon not only has the ability to interface with human consciousness (reading Keel put my own catalog of weird experiences in a whole new light), it has the ability to disguise itself, to change its shape, to take on a number of forms and identities whether through the control of human perception or through an ability to shape-shift using means we can hardly even speculate upon. 

Vallee again:
When I went to the Soviet Union, I met a man named Vladimir Azhazha, who is head of the research committee on UFOs in Moscow. He said, "You know, one of the most important aspects of this whole phenomenon is that it’s polymorphic." I wasn’t sure my interpreter was translating accurately, so I had him repeat that. 
He said, "It’s polymorphic; they change shapes. An object will appear as a disc and as it’s moving through the sky it will change into a cube or into a pyramid or it will vanish on the spot." If it changes shape, if it can appear out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere, this is not just a bunch of spacecraft. 
This is a much more interesting technology that manipulates dimensions. It manipulates space-time. And if it can do that, then it can be from anywhere and anytime.
Vallee also touched upon another immutable constant that comes to characterize the pursuit of Alt.UFOlogy, as well as related and tangential fields. 

Of course, I am talking about the phenomenon of Synchronicity. Vallee, recounting his discussion with the Soviet chum regarding the morphology of UFOs:
I showed him an article where I had said essentially the same thing. He looked at me and he said, "You know, it’s as if you and I had been working together for the last ten years." 
This shows something rather remarkable about the phenomenon, which is that two people who have been studying it in earnest in completely different parts of the world under completely different conditions will arrive at the same conclusions about it.
Now I bring this up because literally as soon as I was wrapping up my Operation Trojan Horse and supplemental material re-read, Paul Weston emailed me out of the blue about Andrew Collins' new book, Lightquest, which not only seeks to describe these beings but explain how the reader can interact with them. 

Jeffrey Pritchett interviewed Collins about the new book. Collins expands on Keel's and Vallee's work, offering a synthesis of Keel's theory of UFOs as living plasma entities with the ability (and desire) to alter human consciousness and Vallee's theory of UFOs as being essentially an interdimensional phenomenon:
I propose that during UFO close encounters we enter what might be described as isolated bubble universes, or drive-through universes, where the interaction between human consciousness and plasma-based environments come together to create virtual worlds of our own making, based on our present conception of what we expect to experience under such traumatic and otherworldly circumstances.
As with Keel and Vallee, Collins believes that the contactee/abductee experience is essentially a kind of induced virtual reality, though he doesn't necessarily agree on the exact mechanics of these experiences:
(The) good explanation would have to involve a progressive understanding of quantum entanglement, i.e. non-local communication, in which whole systems of twinned particles are able to transfer information back and forth in an instant of time. Under such conditions a shifted reality that might present itself as the interior of a spacecraft, the realm of faerie or even the heavenly paradise, might come into being, and be very real indeed. Yet in fact it is a mental projection existing temporarily within a higher dimensional reality attached to highly energetic light forms.
Collins argues that plasma is in fact an excellent medium for life and especially intelligence. If his theory is true, it gives new meaning to the Navajo term "Star People," in that these beings would be perceived as coming from the stars and be made of "star stuff" themselves!
Can such light intelligences, if they exist, inhabit balls of light and UFOs of the type so frequently recorded both in the past and since the advent of the flying saucer age? 
Many UFO researchers have concluded this fact across the years...the greatest pioneer in this field of study is writer Trevor James Constable (who) has proposed that UFOs are amoeba-like animals or “critters” that inhabit the upper atmosphere. In his opinion, these “plasmatic” “sky-creatures” exist in an invisible form, but very occasionally shift in frequency to become visible as shimmering disks, lights in the sky and glowing balls of energy.
Now you can take the word of your scientists and your researchers and your PhD's and that's all well and good. But this is The Secret Sun (not to mention the "Wizards..." series) and when in doubt we consult the work of the great seer Jacob Kurtzberg (1917-1994), better known to the world as Jack Kirby. 

Kirby's work is filled to the brim with aliens and ancient astronauts; what did he think of this idea of sentient plasma beings? The answer-- hiding in plain sight-- was stunningly definitive.

Long before Operation Trojan Horse, long before Dimensions, Kirby was writing about UFOs as the product of sentient light beings. 

 The mystery deepens: in the foreword to the 1978 collection UFOs and Related Subjects: An Annotated Bibliography, editor Lynn E. Catoe wrote of a phenomenon that wouldn't surprise a first century Alexandrian familiar with The Book of Enoch or The Mithraic Liturgy:
A large part of the available UFO literature is closely linked with mysticism and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing, and invisible entities, as well as phenomena like poltergeist manifestations and possession . . . Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demoniac possession and psychic phenomena which has long been known to theologians and parapsychologists.
And in 'Fireballs', one of these beings takes possession of (read: walks-in to) a reporter in order to communicate with the meat puppets, claiming that the atomic testing brought the insignificant little water planet to their attention. (Note that Kirby was also writing a number of stories about interdimensional travel at the same time he was processing all of this.) 

 The experience here is cautionary, educational. But as we saw before the concept of possession is a thorny one, not least because no one wants another entity to take control of their body. Or don't they? Inviting possession was a feature of the ancient Mysteries as it is with their modern descendants such as Santeria and Pentecostalism. 

As Jung pointed out about the UFO phenomenon in general, the Walk-In phenomenon hinges entirely on the beliefs and attitudes of the experiencer. 

Atheists (not to mention Baptists or Presbyterians) are rarely- if ever- possessed by demons whereas adherents of authoritarian religions will use possession as an excuse to break temporarily free of their programming, even if it often ends in their murder at the hands of an "exorcist." 

Keel again:
This mental (and also emotional) manipu­lation is the key to our mystery. Possession occurs in both good and evil forms. Possession is part of the overall manifestation. Many contactees display the classic symptoms of possession. Arthur Ford, the medium, was possessed on one level; Dr. Newbrough, author of Oahspe, on another; contactees on still another. 
All are subjects of the same phenome­non-phenomenon that is not bred in the reaches of outer space but which has always existed with us here in our own immediate environment.
I'm sure I could find a number of stories Kirby did on this theme, but I wanted to revisit the endlessly-unfolding occult grimoire/prophetic codex that men call Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #30 (published March 1975). 

 The first Jack Kirby comic I ever bought (At Valles News) is not only ripe to bursting with High Weirdness ('UFO: The Wildest Trip on Earth'- what was Jack trying to tell us there?) it also features a UFO abduction (which begins with the mind-altering ray so familiar to contact stories from the Fifties (not to mention "The Cage"), it also features an alien which is nothing but sentient bio-plasma using a suit to take human form.

If all that weren't enough, the issue ends with the Bio-Plasma alien taking possession of Kamandi's Gus Grissom analog, Ben Boxer. Then of course the American invasion of Iraq, only in funny animal form, drawn in 1975.

And just as Vallee and his Soviet general friend agreed, the alien "can be many things," meaning take many forms. "It's living energy. The ultimate lifeform."

The "energy alien" uses Kamandi's old friend Doctor Anubi... er I mean Canus, to take form using the machinery she built while tooling around in its space suit. 

Note Kirby conflating the terminology of "fireball" (or foo fighter?) and BIO-PLASMA. Interesting that the alien takes human form after modeling itself after Kamandi, yet another of Jack's idealized, androgynous blond man-children.

Indeed, that same archetype would appear as Ikaris in The Eternals (originally called Return of the Gods), which Kirby began work on shortly after finishing Kamandi #30. 

And as we saw going back to the 50s, this would be another immersion into Kirby's ancient astronaut obsession (which I guarantee you is as much an influence on Prometheus as Von Daniken, since the first Alien raided Eternals #1 for imagery and the second Aliens film is a virtual rewrite of the first Captain Victory storyline). But there was something quite interesting about these particular ancient astronauts... Pyra, the Gods were energy beings encased in giant armored suits. 

As we saw in this story, they also had the ability to create illusions in men's minds, convincing Russian generals that a missile the Soviets had launched at it had reversed course back to its silo.

We also saw the Celestials' true nature in 'The Astronauts', which we looked at in context of the 1986 Challenger disaster. 

Now remember, this is a guy who one journalist compared to the assistant foreman in a girdle factory. Who Art Spiegelman (aka Gummo Bubbleman) called "an idiot savant obsessed with orgasm." Who Jim Woodring said was a very strange little man "hermetically sealed" in his own imagination. 

 A man who didn't have a driver's license because he was unable to focus on consensus reality long enough to avoid driving off the road. A man whose most interesting resonant stories were all commercial flops since he needed guys like Stan Lee to bring his imagination down to Earth long enough to tell an accessible narrative for the mainstream. 

So the question raises itself yet again; what the hell got a hold of this guy? What undetectable signal was he tuned into? 

More importantly, how do we tune into that signal ourselves?