Monday, April 26, 2010

Strange Angels: Conclusion

This is a good point but we would have to know a lot more about Mr. Hingley, and his attitude towards his wife's religious convictions, her former church (was it his also?), and the couple's attitude to the place of the woman in the home before deciding that this was the main trigger or focus of the experience. Could her experience have been a metaphorical externalization of worries about the value and authenticity of organized religion? Bob Rickard and John Michell commented that "Jean Hingley was a deeply religious woman who saw continuity, not difference, between her faith, the psychic experiences she had experienced since childhood and her alien encounter."

Of course, all of this commentary assumes that Mrs. Hingley hallucinated. The strange 'alien fairies' she encountered had no physical or otherworldly reality, only a symbolic significance peculiar to her. If this is the case, the irony is cruel, because she appears to have completely missed the allegorical message as far as we know.

Before going any further, there is a morass of 'fortean politics' that is revealed to us. We can have a great deal of sympathy-even enthusiasm for the psychosocial interpretation of fortean paranormal phenomenon. This is because it sometimes is more fortean than forteans and as unabashedly sceptical and ill-informed as a man like Professor Richard Dawkins is on matters of religion. It is a given of fortean scholarship that one can, given enough intellectual gymnastics, have it both ways, or any way you like as long as you let the possibility of the reality or at least a small trace of true strangeness to remain roaming about the world. The psychosocial faction is always very articulate and truly insightful when giving its special combination of prosaic explanations and symbolic, social, or psychological interpretations of events as reported, or events-as-psychologically reconstructed.

On this path, however, the apparent focus of study, that is, the witness or experiment of the event, may disappear. This is because very few psycholsocial theorists ask the witnesses themselves, what they think of such 'alternative' analyses of their experiences. Of course, some witnesses may have passed on (Jean Hingley died in 1982). This can make verification as difficult for these analysts as it is for the die-hard belivers of government cover-ups of UFO crashes and retrievals who have a knack for relying on death-bed testimony.

Sometimes visionaries and channels of otherworldly realities are just crazy, and it is only a question of their abilities to use public relations and the character of their times and culture as to whether their strange ideas are made to have any practical effect. 20th century history gives us some negative examples of this with men who had a liking for grand parades and odd facial hair. Perhaps souls such as Jeanne d' Arc and Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes could be considered visionaries on the more positive side.

The ground-breaking work of psychologist R.D. Laing, maintains that visionary psychosis is the outcome, not the cause, of a misunderstanding of the capability for perceiving other realities. The Jungian psychoanalyst Anne Baring seems to agree with this when she writes: "There are many kinds, levels and degrees of visionary experience. Such an experience. Such an experience is an encounter with the numinous and can be overwhelming and terrifying as well as exalting and inspiring. The line separating the visionary, the genius and the psychotic is very fine. All three have a psychic threshold which is permeable to deeper levels of experience, to non-ordinary states of consciousness. A culture may confirm or deny the validity of this kind of experience and it may be the fear and denial of it which may actually drive certain people into psychosis who in other cultures would be confirmed and supported in their calling as a healer and spiritual guide to the community...There is [in our society] no deep and sacred relationship with life, no sense that the life of the individual has meaning and value beyond achieving a position of power and influence in society...If William Blake had lived today, he would undoubtedly have been classified as insane and given drugs to bring his visions under control or get rid of them altogether.

"What is missing and has been repressed for a long time in Western culture is the connective principle of soul. It is the feminine principle that carries our deepest longings, our deepest instincts. It is, in essence, the root of the visionary imagination. It is this special faculty of the imagination that seeks relationship with the invisible, that can connect us with the unseen face of spirit. Like the thread of Ariadne, it can guide us through the bewildering labyrinth of life. We know that if we are deprived of sleep for too long we become disoriented. Perhaps it is the same if we are deprived of the visionary imagination".

Sorry it took me so long to get the conclusion to this series here! The idea and most of the information for this short series came from "The Fortean Times Random Dictionary of the Damned" compiled by the Hierophant's Apprentice, in issue number 234 from May 2008 of the Fortean Times magazine. Thanks again for all of your thoughtful, creative and intelligent comments! Peace and be well anyone stopping by or passing through.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Strange Angels Part Two

The 'conversation' between Mrs. Hingley and the entities went on as oddly as it had started. They seemed to state in a fairly obscure way that they 'came from the sky,' the three beings flew to a picture of Jesus on the wall and began talking about "Jesus and his welfare, Tommy Steele (widely regarded as Britain's first teen idol and rock and roll star), the place of the woman in the home, the Queen, children, babies, and back to Jesus again." The beings seemed to observe the room for a bit longer and she asked them if they would like something to drink. They asked for water, which Mrs. Hingley got for them, also thoughtfully adding holiday mince pies to their order! When the ever solicitous Mrs. Hingley tried to show them how to smoke a cigarette, they fled outside, with wings closed-but didn't leave behind their mince pies:-).

Through the window she observed "an orange glowing thing" parked in the garden (presumably the same craft she had spied earlier); when the "fairies" boarded, it took off towards the north. The whole incident had lasted about an hour.

Once the "fairies" had departed Mrs. Hingley "jumped" onto the floor, where she lay in agony. Finally, she managed to get into a chair. A tall figure robed in white appeared by her television set for a minute or two, then faded out of existence-as if the days events hadn't been enough already! At about 5 p.m., she felt "sufficiently recovered to make tea for her husband."

This case also presented some fascinating physical trace evidence: snow on the garage roof had melted away, and there was an 8ft (2.4 m)- long impression in the snow on the lawn in the garden. The impressed snow melted quickly "and grass would not grow there for more than a year afterwards." Other strange 'evidence' after the "fairies" departure included the radio and TV not working, cassette tapes that the beings had handled were scrambled, a 5-8 (12.7-20 cm)- diameter circle was etched into the glass back door, and Mrs. Hingley's gold wedding ring had turned white on the outside.

Mrs. Hingley herself suffered physical ailments from an aching jaw, horrendous headaches, blackouts, and sore eyes for weeks after the encounter. Mrs. Hingley also developed a 'wild talent' (moreso than she already possessed it appears from the reports) after the encounter. She now had telepathic powers! Albert Budden reports she was able to 'scan' others and obtain private information at times...The investigators [Stephen Banks, Martin Keatman and Andy Collins] were amazed when Jean suddenly told them the central details of an unrelated case they were working on."

It was in 1988 that Budden came to the conclusion that Jean Hingley had had a close encounter with an 'Earthlight' in an area of high electromagnetic activity, and that this had caused her to hallucinate. But let's say for the sake of argument that Budden is correct. What then caused the physical evidence? The original aftereffects she suffered. Her telepathy? Note: not that I am saying only an otherworldly encounter could have caused these!

In 1995 Budden published a book that painted Mrs. Hingley as a poorly educated orphan. HOWEVER-it also noted that she was a sharp-witted, intelligent, down-to-earth, and sensible woman. She had been judged to be trustworthy enough to have fostered a number of children. She had also had 'psychic' experiences all her life-her encounter with the "fairies" had just deepened her talent. The initial investigators also knew that she was very religious (as opposed to the States it would be a fairly uncommon sight to have a picture of Jesus in the living room). Andy Collins noted that, from her description, the winged 'aliens' had a strong resemblance to the fairy that those same aliens had so rudely and rather mockingly ("Nice?") shaken from the Christmas tree; he also reported that "a few days after the encounter the Christmas tree vanished from the living room. Two days later it reappeared in pieces in the back garden, without its ornaments...These gradually reappeared, over several days, just outside the garden.

It was discovered during the course of the investigation that Jean Hingley had been a member of a local, semi-fundamentalist church and had had a dispute with a group of people who went there also not long before the encounter. Other researchers noticed that the 'alien fairies' showed no respect-even derision-for the most important people and symbols of the most widely celebrated time in the Western church's calendar. The beings would continually bring the conversation back to Jesus ("and his welfare"). The similarities between the floating aliens and the Yule fairy (itself interchangable with an angel, according to one's belief structure) atop the Christmas tree, seems to allude to the Christmas spirit itself was showing how artificial-even inane it had become. The Christmas tree disappeared or was made to disappear and came back in pieces without its gaudy decorations. A commenter on the case who had noted Mrs. Hingley's selfless dedication to being a good hostess to the fairies, and the discussion about the Queen and the role of the woman in the house (even managing to make tea for her husband after this incredible experience) has said "it's hard not to see some manifestation of repressed domestic anxiety at play" here.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strange Angels Part One

There has always been a middle-ground between the yin/yang, yes/no, believer/skeptic debate in the field of paranormal studies (and thankfully so!). This "middle-ground" crowd would explain things like angelic visitations, UFOs, ghostly encounters, near death experiences (NDEs), and the whole host of otherworldly phenomenena by "natural" or "technical explanations. Things like NDEs, UFO encounters and the like would be explained by many in this group to be electromagnetic effects on the temporal lobe of the brain. Sightings of UFOs are usually explained by "Earthlights." Even sightings of ghosts are explained by physical attributes in the enviorment. NDEs are explained as the increasing anoxia in the brain as it starts to "die." I think it is wonderful that there is a group of people-laymen and scientists alike, who try to explain some of the mysteries in our world through "logical" means. I don't believe that everything can be explained away by resorting to scientific reasoning. I do think there is a "magical" aspect to our reality for lack of a better word that will never be "solved" - but that is just me. I would like to fall on the cautious and skeptical side when discussing most paranormal things -even though I know it must seem to many who read my blog that I believe in everything!

I think it would be helpful to look at a case that seems to bridge ufological and faery/elf territory-as so many of them do it seems. Some of these encounters appear to mock our notions of physicality, dimension and space-time. This case is highly unique to say the least maybe sui generis would be a better word for it! We can look at this case through our own eyes-and decide to completely dismiss it-or perhaps think something did indeed happen. We can also look at this case through the eyes of a Mr. Albert Budden who came to the conclusion this this was a case of a woman who had a close encounter with an "Earthlight" in an area of high electromagnetic activity that consequently led to a hallucinatory experience.

This very strange case involved a Mrs. Jean Hingley and occurred on 4 January 1979 in Rowley Regis, England. It was 6:30 in the morning and Mrs. Hingley's husband had just left for work. It was still dark outside. From the kitchen, she observed a large, orange glowing sphere that hovered over the carport in the left hand corner of the back garden. Mrs. Hingley opened the door to get a close look and "three beings rushed past her into the house. As they did this, she felt herself float away from the floor, hovering a few inches above it." From then until the entities left, her feet did not touch the floor.

She heard a commotion from the living room and drifted above the floor into it. She saw two of the creatures shaking the Christmas tree so roughly that the fairy on top fell off. When the beings saw her gaping at them they turned and said in unison: "Nice?" Even though she was partly paralyzed by the encounter, Mrs. Hingley finally managed to say Bruce Forsyth's catchphrase: "Oh, it's nice to see you, to see you nice." Bruce Forsyth was a British showman and entertainer and apparently had many catchphrases that "caught on."

Things got even more bizarre when she asked them where they were from. In answer to her question they flew around the room, "eventually landing on the sofa...and jumping up and down on it like naughty children. She told them sharply to stop, which they did." That was the end of Mrs. Hingley's attempts to control events. Anything else she tried to do to reign in the situation earned her a shock to the middle of her forehead by a laser-like paralyzing light beam that was emitted from the beings' helmets.

The bubble helmets with their constantly glowing light on top (when not zapping the unfortunate Mrs. Hingley) and the beings' faces are almost the only feature that ties in with other descriptions of UFO occupants. A few researchers wondered if the archetypal nature of Mrs. Hingley's account of their appearance put a shadow of a doubt over her claim to have had not the slightest interest or knowledge of the UFO phenomenon.

"They had large eyes like 'black diamonds' with a glittering lustre, set into wide white faces with no nose to speak of and a simple line for a mouth." A "close-fitting" hood hid any possible ears the creatures may have had. Their arms and legs ended in tapering points, to which they could make objects adhere to. Their legs were a silvery green color (this despite them being called "blue fairies" in some of the ufological data); when they flew, the legs hung down stiffly, 'as do some terrestrial insects'; the forelimbs were clasped together. The whole area around the creatures' bodies was surrounded by a halo. But these were not even the most extraordinary characteristics the beings possessed. This title was claimed by a pair of oval wings! These "looked as if they were made of thin, transparent paper covered with dozens of multi-colored dots." These appendages didn't seem to contribute much to the "fairies" ability to fly-only fluttering slightly or even folding up when they were aloft.

To be continued...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Is There A Way Out? Part Seven

Before going back to Stanislav Grof and other people and things I would like to post some more of Ken Wilber's thoughts from No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth: "So successful was the mapping of nature that, to this day, our lives are largely spent in drawing boundaries. Every decision we make, our every action, our every word is based on the construction concious or unconscious, of boundaries. I am not now referring to just a self: identity boundary-important as that certainly is-but to all boundaries in the broadest sense. To makea decision means to draw a boundary line between pleasurable and painful things and then move toward the former.

The simple fact is that we live in a world of conflict and opposites because we live in a world of boundaries. Since every boundary line is also a battle line, here is the human predicament: the firmer one's boundaries, the more entrenched are one's battles. The more I hold onto pleasure, the more I necessarily fear pain. The more I pursue goodness, the more I am obsessed with evil. The more I seek success, the more I dread failure. The harder I cling to life, the more terrifying death becomes. The more I value anything the more obsessed I become with its loss. Most of our problems, in other words, are problems of boundaries and the opposites they create.

Thus we suppose that life would be perfectly enjoyable if we could only eradicate all the negative and unwanted poles of the pairs of opposites. If we could vanquish pain, evil, death, suffering, sickness, so that life, joy, and health would abound-that, indeed, would be the good life and in fact, that is precisely many peoples' idea of Heaven. Heaven has come to mean, not a transcendence of all opposites, but the place where the positive halves of the pairs of opposites are accumulated, while Hell is the place where are massed all the negative halves: pain, suffering, torment, anxiety, sickness...

Progress, after all, is simply progress toward the positive and away from the negative. Yet despite the obvious comforts of medicine and agriculture, there is not the least bit of evidence to suggest that, after centuries of accentuating positives and trying to eliminate negatives, humanity is any happier, more content, or at peace with itself. In fact, the available evidence suggests just the contrary: today is the "age of anxiety," of "future shock," of epidemic frustration and alienation, of boredom in the midst of wealth and meaninglessness in the midst of plenty...

For in seeking to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, we have forgotten entirely that the positive is defined only in terms of the negative...In just the same way, all of the opposites share an implicit indentity. That is, however vividly the differences between these opposites may strike us, they nevertheless remain completely inseparable and mutually interdependent, and for the simple reason that the one could not exist without the other.

The inner unity of opposites is hardly an idea confined to mystics, Eastern or Western. If we look to modern day physics, the field in which the Western intellect has made is greatest advances, what we find is another version of reality as a union of opposites. In relativity theory, for example, the old opposites of rest vs. motion have become totally indistinguishable, that is, "each is both." An object which appears at rest for one observer is, at the same time, in motion for a different observer. Likewise, the split between wave and particle vanishes unto "wavicle," and the contrast of structure vs. function evaporates. Even the age-old separation of mass from energy has fallen to Einstein's E=mc^2, and these ancient "opposites" are now viewed as merely two aspects of one reality, a reality to which Hiroshima so violently bore witness.

It is for all these reasons that Alfred North Whitehead, one of the most influential philosophers of this century, set forth his philosophy of "organism" and "vibratory existence," which suggests that all the "ultimate elements are in their essence vibratory." That is, all things and events we usually consider are irreconcilable, such as cause and effect, past and future, subject and object, are actually just 'like' the crest and trough of a single wave, a single vibration."

Thanks for all of your thoughtful and intelligent comments! I hope everyone stopping by has a wonderful weekend and week ahead!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is There A Way Out? Part Six

The Chinese sage Lao-Tzu said: Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Having and not having rise together
Difficult and wasy complement each other
Long and short contrast each other
High and Low rest upon each other
Front and back follow one another.

We can wonder why our reality-our universe seems to be so grounded in opposites when you try to think of the 'nature of reality.' Light/Dark, Good/Evil, Ecstasy/ infinitum seem to spring into existence together at the same moment you think of these concepts-one idea/concept being defined by its counterpart at the other pole of being that doesn't share any of the qualities of the idea being defined. Or does it?

From Ken Wilber's No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth from pages 15-27: "Even our highest abstractions rest on opposites. Logic, for instance, is concerned with the true vs. the false; epistemology, with appearance vs. reality; ontology, with being vs. non-being. Our world seems to be a massive collection of opposites.

It is certainly true that some of the things we call "opposites" appear to exist in Nature. There are for instance, big frogs and small frogs, large trees and small trees, ripe oranges and unripe oranges. But it isn't a problem for them, it doesn't throw them into paroxysms of anxiety...Likewise, there is life and death in the world of nature, but again it doesn't seem to hold the terrifying dimensions ascribed to it in the world of humans. A very old cat isn't swept with torrents of terror over its impending death. It just calmly walks out to the woods, curls up under a tree and dies.

According to the book of Genesis, one of the first tasks given to Adam was to name the animals and plants existing in nature...But Adam's real task was not so much thinking up names for the animals and plants, laborious as that undoubtedly was. Rather, the crucial part of his job was the sorting out process itself... He had to learn to draw a mental boundary line between the various groups of animals, because only after he did this could he fully recognize, and therefore name, the different beasts. In other words, the great task Adam initiated was the construction of mental or symbolic dividing lines."

To be continued....