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Dr. Jacques Vallee, a French-American computer specialist with a background in astrophysics, once served as consultant to NASA’s Mars Map project. Jacques Vallee is one of ufology’s major figures – and also its most original thinker. Vallee, who holds a master’s degree in astrophysics and a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University.
But by 1969, when he published Passport to Magonia (Regnery), Vallee’s assessment of the UFO phenomenon had undergone a significant shift. Much to the consternation of the “scientific ufologists” who had seen him as one of their champions, Vallee now seemed to be backing away from the extraterrestrial hypotheses and advancing the radical view that UFOs are paranormal in nature and a modern space age manifestation of a phenomenon which assumes different guises in different historical contexts.
” When the underlying archetypes are extracted,” he wrote, “the saucer myth is seen to coincide to a remarkable degree with the fairy-faith of Celtic countries … religious miracles… and the widespread belief among all peoples concerning entities whose physical and psychological descriptions place them in the same category as the present-day ufonauts.”
In The Invisible College (E.P. Dutton, 1975) Vallee posits the idea of a “control system.” UFOs and related phenomena are “the means through which man’s concepts are being rearranged.” Their ultimate source may be unknowable, at least at this stage of human development; what we do know, according to Vallee, is that they are presenting us with continually recurring “absurd” messages and appearances which defy rational analysis but which nonetheless address human beings on the level of myth and imagination.
“When I speak of a control system for planet earth,” he says, ” I do not want my words to be misunderstood: I do not mean that some higher order of beings has locked us inside the constraints of a space-bound jail, closely monitored by psychic entities we might call angels or demons. I do not propose to redefine God. What I do mean is that mythology rules at a level of our social reality over which normal political and intellectual action has no power….”