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In this episode we have the ever more mainstream story of UFO experiences to assess; Not necessarily the important questions around the existence of the phenomenon, which the office of the US director of National Intelligence confirmed in an official 2021 report that they were, in fact, a ‘population of objects’ (see show notes below)- but rather the belief in the phenomenon, in 2008 polled at around %37 of Americans, but by no means confined to the US. This widespread belief, along with less ridiculed beliefs bolstered by the high probability of extraterrestrial civilisations more advanced than our own existing out there in the cosmos, has had a huge sociological and cultural influence on western society. 


So in this episode I want to put into a sociological context all of this quasi-religious belief; understand the role of our perception of technology; get our heads around a rare example of a modern myth forming in real time; look at the ways a phenomenon can be both physical and psychological at the same time; and examine various scientific, academic and even philosophical doors into this confounding phenomena that no matter how much the sceptics deny, just won’t go away.


So when we study belief we have to turn to a religious studies specialist, and who better to call on than Professor of Religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Diana Pasulka. She’s also the author of 3 books, “Heaven Can Wait”, a book about purgatory, “American Cosmic” on scientists who believe in UFO’s, and her new 2023 book “Encounters” on multi-disciplinary academic approaches to the UFO phenomenon and experiences with non-human intelligence. 


I’ve always been mostly sceptical about the reports but very open minded, and curious from a SETI point of view and as a lover of sci-fi literature; that was until the late 2017 New York Times articles about the The USS Nimitz ’Tic-tac’ incident involving a craft with anomalous aerodynamic properties, witnessed by multiple pilots and radar operators, and about the revelation of the Pentagon’s top aecret advanced aerospace threat identification program, which wasn’t supposed to exist. Since then I’ve started to keep an eye on the changes in US law, and the transition of how congress are treating the issue, how scientists are opening up to the possibilities, and how various top military tech agency patents are attempting to create energy sources and propulsion methods that could imitate UFO performance are now being experimented with. Don’t forget listeners, that we talk about all the science in more detail with Stanford medical School’s immunologist, pathologist and inventor Garry Nolan in this series so check that out too. 


What we discuss:

00:00 Intro.

09:30 The difference between theology and religious studies.

13:08 Meaningful events propel people towards religious belief.

16:50 Investigating historic reports of bilocation and levitation, e.g. Sister Maria of Agreda.

21:30 Heidegger’s warning about underestimating the influence of technology on our culture.

23:41 Technology is not just a ‘tool’, it affects our evolution.

27:00 Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” - A just government and the control of information.

31:20 Mysticism as an alternative to unjust government and weaponisation of technology.

34:40 Nietzsche, the risk of assigning causal power for synchronicities to higher powers.

40:00 Jaques Vallee and a religious studies foray into UFO experience research.

44:00 Perspective change: The creation of a modern myth, to a real physical phenomenon.

45:50 Looking for UFO crash parts in the desert with Garry Nolan, taken blindfolded by a Space Force scientist.

46:30 The risk of academics being used to disseminate disinformation.

49:00 The ‘Antenna’ hypothesis: the brain as a receiver and transmitter.

55:00 Character traits of experiencers as well as brain traits.

56:00 “Epistemic shock” of physical data analysed by top scientists, and government “management” of information.

01:01:00 Where the physical and non-physical meet: idealism or VR hypotheses.

01:05:00 Humans may be a sophisticated type of biotechnology.

01:06:00 The use of intuition protocols to find technological solutions: intention and visualisation.

01:09:30 Mind matter interaction elements: subjective or objective or both?

01:11:30 New Encounters book: a “reorientation”.

01:14:00 Iya Whitely: validating pilots experiences. 

01:17:45 Patricia Turrisi and an alleged secret space program.

01.21:00 Possible connection between anomalous cognitive experiences like NDE, OBE and remote viewing - Rey Hernandez.

01:26:30 Embrace the mystery



Diana Pasulka, Encounters.

Diana Pasulka, American Cosmic.

Diana Pasulka Heaven Can Wait”.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Assessment on UAP, June 2021, John L. Ratcliffe

Martin Heidegger essay, “The Question Concerning Technology

Vice magazine article on Garry Nolan’s, experiencers brains and anomalous metals research

‘Jung’s Synchronicity Explained’ CC interview Christoph De Mouel

Carl Jung, Flying Saucers: a Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky

Iya Whitely “Trusting and Learning from Pilots”, Lecture at the SOL Foundation symposium at the Nolan Lab at Stanford Medical School

Beyond UFOs: The Science of Consciousness & Contact with Non Human Intelligence - Jon Kilmo and Rey hernandez et al.


“Synchronicity is the engine of religious belief”, Diana Pasulka.


“We have here a golden opportunity of seeing how a legend is formed, and how in a dark and difficult time for humanity a miraculous tale grows up of an attempted intervention by extra-terrestrial ‘heavenly’ powers” Carl Jung on UFO’s 1958


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