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Earth Lights: Towards an Understanding of the Unidentified Flying Objects Enigma Hardcover – 21 Oct 1982

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; First Edition edition (21 Oct. 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0855001232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0855001230
  • Package Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 979,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

BOOK CLUB ASSOCIATES LONDON 1982 Hard Back with dust jacket

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When I was a kid (this must have been around 1982), the Swedish public service network aired what native ufologists consider to be "the only serious documentary on the UFO phenomenon ever to be shown on Swedish television". I don't remember who was featured, but it proposed earthquake lights as an explanation of both UFOs themselves and the abduction experience. I wild guess is that Michael Persinger was one of the people interviewed. I found the theory compelling, and was surprised years later that it isn't considered mainstream science. (I suppose "mainstream science" is that 101% of all UFOs are Barn Owls lit up by Venus.)

Of course, the idea that UFOs are a product of queer electromagnetic phenomena can be given a different "spin" depending on the author. Thus, Albert Budden's "Electric UFOs" takes a sceptical tack on the problem, suggesting that encounters with UFOs and aliens are simply a kind of hallucinations. These hallucinations are on the rise due to electromagnetic pollution of our environment of cynical power companies.

The approach of Paul Devereux, author of "Earth Lights", is more curious - I say that with the caveat that I haven't read his other books. On the surface, his theory about UFOs sounds scientific and materialist. It seems to be testable, at least in principle. However, it also seems to be part of a worldview that is, at bottom, spiritual. Budden's negative feelings about living in a demon-haunted world of electrically-induced phantasms is wholly absent from "Earth Lights". Rather, Devereux suggests that the UFO phenomenon can be used to expand our consciousness, that it was used in this way by the Neolithic peoples and their shamans, and that this is somehow connected to the idea of Gaia as a living organism.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let there be light 2 Nov. 2012
By Ashtar Command - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When I was a kid (this must have been around 1982), the Swedish public service network aired what native ufologists consider to be "the only serious documentary on the UFO phenomenon ever to be shown on Swedish television". I don't remember who was featured, but it proposed earthquake lights as an explanation of both UFOs themselves and the abduction experience. I wild guess is that Michael Persinger was one of the people interviewed. I found the theory compelling, and was surprised years later that it isn't considered mainstream science. (I suppose "mainstream science" is that 101% of all UFOs are Barn Owls lit up by Venus.)

Of course, the idea that UFOs are a product of queer electromagnetic phenomena can be given a different "spin" depending on the author. Thus, Albert Budden's "Electric UFOs" takes a sceptical tack on the problem, suggesting that encounters with UFOs and aliens are simply a kind of hallucinations. These hallucinations are on the rise due to electromagnetic pollution of our environment of cynical power companies.

The approach of Paul Devereux, author of "Earth Lights", is more curious - I say that with the caveat that I haven't read his other books. On the surface, his theory about UFOs sounds scientific and materialist. It seems to be testable, at least in principle. However, it also seems to be part of a worldview that is, at bottom, spiritual. Budden's negative feelings about living in a demon-haunted world of electrically-induced phantasms is wholly absent from "Earth Lights". Rather, Devereux suggests that the UFO phenomenon can be used to expand our consciousness, that it was used in this way by the Neolithic peoples and their shamans, and that this is somehow connected to the idea of Gaia as a living organism. The seemingly materialist theory that UFOs are earthquake lights is woven into a worldview which could broadly be termed pantheist. (I suppose "New Age" would be the less kind designation.)

Devereux believes that the UFO phenomenon is really several different phenomena misunderstood by pop culture as one and the same. Thus, abduction experiences are entirely subjective and have no real connection to unidentified flying objects. They demand another explanation than the mysterious objects in the sky which constitute the bulk of the UFO phenomenon. Indeed, only a small part of "Earth Lights" deal with purported alien abductions.

Devereux regards UFOs seen in the sky as objective in character. His hypothesis is that UFOs are earthquake lights, created by tectonic stress. UFOs don't originate in outer space or the atmosphere. They are a kind of unusual geophysical phenomenon. UFOs are unstable, which explains their strange, shape-shifting character and dramatic disappearances described by many witnesses. Their seemingly intelligent behaviour is really a blind interaction with electromagnetic fields, including those of the observer. Just like ball lightning, UFOs can stalk certain persons, giving rise to the illusion that an otherworldly intelligence is at work. At this point, Persinger and Budden would presumably suggest that the earth lights trigger hallucinations by interfering with the temporal lobes of human brains. It is here that Devereux' scientific explanations tend to break down.

The author has problems explaining the aliens and archetypal images associated with UFOs. He suggests that the earth light can take the shape of an alien, cross or whatever. If so, the "aliens" would simply be misidentified, shape-shifting electric events. However, he also says that our human minds project everything from the collective unconscious to images from pop culture onto the seemingly intelligent earth lights. If so, then aliens are surely subjective? We project the unconscious onto the UFOs, but since we aren't aware of its contents, it looks as if the UFO is "objective" and even communicates an "objective" message. Finally, the author in a bold move speculates that the collective unconscious is in some sense objective too, and that archetypes might be Gaia's dreams. But if so, the interaction between the human mind and the earth light is really a kind of spiritual interaction between humans and Gaia.

Nothing wrong with that. But why on earth claim that we are dealing with a strictly "scientific" theory? The interaction between the geophysical earth lights and the human mind cannot be entirely "blind" or haphazard, if we are dealing with entities that can expand our consciousness by tapping into the collective unconscious of Homo sapiens (or even the Earth itself). It also becomes unclear why the author doesn't want to discuss alien abductions except in passing. After all, people have experienced "abductions" after encountering strange lights of the usual UFO kind. And what about the archetypal content of such experiences? Or purported similarities between alien abductions and shamanic trances? Somehow, I get the impression that Devereux wants to dispose of the abductions since they were too bizarre even to most ufologists back in 1982, when "Earth Lights" was published. Let alone the sceptics!

"Earth Lights" is an interesting attempt to prove what is essentially a spiritual worldview using the standard methods of science. At the time of writing, however, I don't think this approach will work: parapsychology, dowsing and Jungian archetypes are no longer considered "politically correct" in the scientific community (maybe they never were). Indeed, the science-spirituality amalgam is, in itself, typically New Age. One chapter of "Earth Lights" even has the title "Geophysical epiphany". That doesn't mean Devereux' book is bad. On the contrary, I found it fascinating. A couple of years ago, this was precisely what I was looking for: a scientific (or scientist) argument for the spiritual.

There might still be people out there who need to read a book like this. However, something tells me spirituality can do perfectly well even without science. ;-)
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