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"Artist depiction of a UFO"
I was trained in the sciences in a strictly academic orthodox manner.
I hold a bachelor’s of science in zoology with a minor in chemistry and a master’s in biocultural anthropology, both degrees obtained at Oregon State University — as orthodox a science institution there ever was. I then taught physical anthropology at this same university for seven years.
Paranormal phenomena, including UFOs and alien abductions, were anathema to me. I could not fit them into my naturalistic worldview.
First, my academic background simply would not allow it psychologically. UFOs were hallucinations, mass hysteria or some other conveniently explainable occurrence. Alien abduction experiences were the result of childhood trauma, possibly physical and sexual abuse.
Second, even if I wanted to explore the paranormal, I could not and dare not because of the restrictive intellectual atmosphere of collegiate academia. People lose their jobs for talking “crazy talk”!
But then something happened in late January 2007 that challenged my worldview and my strict scientific interpretation of the natural universe. My best friend of 30 years saw a UFO. Not a far-off, hazy blinking light or a midnight vision from a half-remembered dream but an actual UFO.
He was close enough to see it in some detail: a black triangle with strobe lights that flew low over his house and emitted a deep droning sound that rattled the windows. His wife and young son had witnessed it first flying over downtown south Salem heading toward the Willamette River. She called him on her cell and told him a UFO was moving in his direction. Several people were stopped on the street corner, watching as the strange triangular object floated slowly by low overhead.
My father told me of a UFO sighting he and his grandfather had in what must have been October or November of 1957. They were watching the skies of Eastern Washington for the Sputnik satellite to pass by. But they didn’t see the tiny point of light that went “beep” on the radio. Instead, they saw two bright blue objects flying in formation from one side of the horizon to the other at an impossibly fast speed. They were well acquainted with military aircraft and these objects were like nothing they had seen before. Besides, there was no sonic boom.
Then my daughter saw a UFO in the summer of 2009. We were reading a bedtime story when she interrupted me and told me to look out the window. By the time I put the book down and looked, the object was gone. I quickly got her some pens and a writing pad. I noted the date and time and the direction she indicated the object had been moving. Then I had her draw it. I asked her about size in relation to distance, and she declared that it had been big, much too large to be an aircraft.
Besides, her drawing looked nothing like an aircraft. My daughter had never been given to exaggeration or fibs, so I knew she was reporting the truth. Had she imagined it? No, absolutely not.
Suddenly I had an epiphany. I had crossed over into a new worldview and there was no turning back. This was undeniable believability.
I do not believe in UFOs. I accept their physical existence in natural reality. UFOs are real. We may not know what they are; but whatever they are, they exist in the natural universe. I prefer not to consider them paranormal. They are absolutely normal. The scientific question is, normal what? This question is my passion.
Jordan Hofer of Salem is writing a book for Schiffer Publishing called “Evolutionary Ufology: A New Synthesis.” He is a research specialist in anthropology with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), the largest such investigative entity in the world. He has also written a novel about UFOs for juvenile readers. Contact him at email@example.com.
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