December 6, 2016
We knew from the beginning that Eric Ouellet’s Illuminations: The UFO Experience as a Parapsychological Event would be a controversial book that would please neither UFOlogists nor parapsychologists. We were right; step on toes and people scream. But even critics like parapsychologist Renaud Evrard, in his review of the book in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, admits that “the perspective he adopts has never been discussed so extensively,” that perspective being that “social psi” is actually at the core of the UFO phenomenon. Could UFO experiences be like poltergeist events? Evrard finds that Ouellet’s “‘political sociology’ of UFO experiences and alien encounters is not really convincing. The symbolic perspective, although it remains attractive, gives him too much freedom to approximate a scientific analysis.” Meanwhile, UFOlogist Jerome Clark, who says he’s been there, done that, and moved on from such a perspective, argues in his review of the book in Fortean Times that we should stop “dragging in creaky concepts such as macro-PK, on its best days a hugely speculative notion, to explain anything [about UFOs]. And let’s keep social stresses out of it too. There are always social streeses, and there is no empirically demonstrated reason to link them to UFO sightings.” But he doesn’t entirely discount the possibility, as he ends his review with these words: “Show me real evidence that macro-PK, working selectively through ‘social stresses,’ creates UFO events, and we’ll talk.” Finally, Peter Rogerson, in his review at Magonia, calls it an “interesting book” that “certainly evoked a feeling of nostalgia in me, because I was thinking on similar lines back in 1970!” But he seems to have now rejected that view because “we certainly don’t know that psychokinesis or morphic fields or other psi processes exist.” Obviously Rogerson is not up on the parapsychological literature of the past 50 years! But if we were back in the early 1970s, he admits, “this is a book which I would have probably given a rave review.” Finally we have the opinion of David Halprin, who is neither a UFOlogist nor a parapsychologist. In his review on his blog, he finds Ouellet’s book “challenging, lucid, at times brilliant.” He doesn’t think that “all of Ouellet’s arguments are equally convincing. But all are stimulating, all are provocative. All contribute to making this book one of the most fascinating UFO books I’ve read in a long time–-a vital contribution to the understanding of the UFO as a social and psychological phenomenon.”
August 25, 2015
Could the UFO experience be a type of outdoor poltergeist event? Normally, parapsychology and UFOlogy just don’t mix, despite the decades-long efforts of some highly respected researchers to call attention to the paranormal or parapsychological aspects of UFO events. But what if UFO experiences are the result of large-scale, unconscious, psychic forces? In his new book Illuminations: The UFO Experience as a Parapsychological Event, sociologist Eric Ouellet offers a novel approach to a phenomenon that has thus far resisted all other efforts to explain it—supported by a wonderful foreword by Jenny Randles. Combining research in parapsychology, sociology, and UFOlogy, Ouellet provides a thought provoking reassessment of several well-known UFO cases, including the Washington, DC, UFO wave of 1952, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961, the Rendlesham UFO incident of 1980, and the Belgian UFO wave of 1989-1991. While not claiming to have the final solution to the UFO mystery, he offers much food for thought and a refreshing outlook on a stubbornly elusive phenomenon. Ouellet is a professor of Defence Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, and at the Canadian Forces College (Canada’s Joint Staff and War College). He has a Ph.D. in sociology from York University (Toronto, Canada), and he is the liaison officer for Canada with the Parapsychological Association. One more question to ponder: Could a UFO feed on the emotions of the witnesses in order to take form?