A new book by Jacques Vallee is must reading for every serious student of UFOs and paranormal phenomena and also - I would add - esotericist. His writings are always intellectually challenging with new data and inside views from the UFO research community. The Forbidden Science Journals are now into the fourth volume, covering the decade 1990- 1999, subtitled The Spring Hill Chronicles. The difference this time is that many diary entries deal with Vallee´s work as private investor and venture capitalist. Somewhat frustating to readers, like me, who is not fascinated by economy and high finance.
Giving a detailed and accurate review of this massive work (551 pages) is a mission impossible. There are so many UFO incidents, personalities, events, ideas, theories and personal memories and anecdotes mentioned that makes it necessary to concentrate on a few themes. I´ve always admired Vallee´s heretical thinking and lone wolf attitude. In Forbidden Science, vol. 2 he gave this advice: ”The real phenomena continue to manifest under our noses, and no special access to questionable government documents is required to pursue a serious study” (491). He reiterates this view in vol 4: ”The best work is always done by lonely researchers with no money” (p. 404). Vallee deplores how ufology has developed in the US with the misuse of hypnosis on abductees, beginning with Hopkins´ Missing Time 1981, resulting in new myths and conspiracies.
Jacques Vallee, photo by Clas Svahn, June 2016
Vallee in no way deny the reality of abductions, only the misuse of hypnosis and resultant credulity and is a harsh critic of John Mack and David Jacobs. As in the other volumes there are many intriguing close encounter and abduction cases mentioned in brief summaries, cases I wonder if anyone ever followed up or documented. Vallee is especielly intrigued by the possibility of covert intelligence operatives involved in psychological experiments: ”Barbara knows another woman who found out under professional therapy that she had not been abducted to a UFO at all; instead she had been taken to a house in San Francisco, where her supposedly ”Alien” abductors also turned out to be humans as they removed their fake faces in front of her. That description sent chills through my bones, because it was one of the scenes in my novel Fastwalker.” (p. 24). This case is reminiscent of the Alison MILABS case, Sedona, Arizona, documented by Nick Redfern. The theme of secret black projects was introduced aleady in Messengers of Deception (1979). Vallee is convinced there is both a real UFO phenomenon and government mind control experiments. The mystery , of course is, ”but why? And cui bono?” (p. 179).
In 1995 American businessman Robert Bigelow founded the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He recruited a team of scientists, a.o. Jacques Vallee to research various paranormal phenomena, including cattle mutilations and black triangle reports. The investigations were for many years led by Colm Kelleher, concentrating on a ranch in Utah where a plethora of strange phenomena were observed. Vallee reports on the meetings, discussions, research and internal problems of the group. He concludes: ”… we learned a lot in Utah from the work on the ranch of Bob Bigelow. Thanks to enlightened support from him and from Laurance Rockefeller, a small cadre of American scientists had begun to study the pheonomena first-hand, at close range, over extended periods, and to openly discuss their findings.”. (p. 485). The investigations at the Utah range were later documented by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp in Hunt for the Skinwalker (2006).
Jacques Vallee has all his life been a valiant exponent for the serious and scientific study of UFOs and paranormal phenomena. Therefore I was deeply surprised and troubled by this diary entry November 1, 1992: ”Planning the move, I have disposed of three large crates of letters from readers that would have been excellent raw material for somebody´s dissertation on the UFO mystery and society´s reaction to it. I can hear future scholars cursing me, but where am I to find the space for all this? No University has any interest in it.” (p. 143). To me it is almost incomprehensible that Vallee does not seem to realize the importance of saving documents, especially correspondence. As I often have reiterated: Without libraries and archives we have no history, only anecdotes, myths and hazy memories. Without archives and libraries serious and scientific research becomes very difficult and in some areas almost impossible. If we don´t learn from history we will continue making the same mistakes or once again try to reinvent the wheel. Jacques Vallee and his wife Janine were close friends of Brian Myers and Tina Choate, who succeeded in getting hold of the APRO archives after the death of Coral Lorenzen in 1988. The APRO archives is unique in UFO history but unfortunately still not accessible nor digitalized, as far as I know. Robert Bigelow tried to buy the archive without success. Jacques and Janine visited Myers and Choate on July 28, 1992: ”Again, we saw the Apro files in rows of filing cabinets, many of them still taped shut. The data for the years 1948 and 1949 was misssing; there was no file on Roswell. Many of the drawers only contained clippings (labelled ”Features”) but others were full of data.” (p. 128). Nowhere do I find a comment by Vallee that this archive should be saved and made accessible to researchers.
When Anders Liljegren, Kjell Jonsson and I founded AFU in 1973 Jacques Vallee was, besides John Keel, our foremost ideological inspiration. We even quoted from Passport to Magonia in our first published information sheet. His writings has deeply influenced my own research and theories. Especially because to Vallee UFO research is part of a profound spiritual quest to understand our existence and in this quest he, like his colleague Allen Hynek, has turned to various esoteric traditions looking for answers. It is here that I am faced with one of the great unsolved riddles in his life and writings. In several diary entries Vallee mention his interest and study of esoteric authors. Both Hynek and Vallee consider themselves as belonging to the Rosicrucian tradition (p. 126). The Rosicrucian tradition often referred to is Amorc: ”Yesterday, I visited Rosicrucian Park, taking along a copy of Forbidden Science as a gift to their library. I spoke to Grand Master Kristie Knudson who called me ”Frater”, apologized for being busy, and delegated an instructor to take me through the temple.” (p. 196).
Among the names in the Rosicrucian tradition Vallee recognize ”and pledge allegiance to” are Paracelsus, Flamel, Nostradamus and Paschal Beverly Randolph: ”I have always felt – as did Allen Hynek – that the objective of most esoteric groups such as the Golden Dawn, Amorc and masonry, was intellectually and spiritually valuable. It is the execution that is flawed because human and social structures prove incompatible with the ideals.” (p. 436). How come that Jacques Vallee, in his lifelong studies of Hermeticism and Rosicrucians, never have found the core Esoteric Tradition as represented by Helena Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and Henry T. Laurency? The Esoteric Tradition as formulated by these authors constitutes the scientifically and philosophically most interesting multiverse paradigm or theory to explain the multitude of intriguing phenomena documented by many researchers. Of special importance is that Bailey and Laurency also have solved the basic epistemological problem of how to intellectually relate to the claims in esotericism. The esoteric worldview as presented by these authors could be accepted as a reasonable working hypothesis by any scholar or academic. Instead Vallee refers to the rather naive writings of Amorc and the obscure occultist Pachal Beverly Randolph who was advocating sex magic and drugs – the dark reflection of the Esoteric Tradition. In his diary April 27, 1996 Vallee has an interesting discussion with a friend in Paris: ”We spoke of Umberto Eco. I told her that his Foucault´s Pendulum danced around the occult domain, but he completely missed the door that led inside. She shrugged: ”He´s only an academic, an ethnologist,” she said. ”You can´t expect him to understand the paranormal.” (p. 306). Jacques Vallee himself is knocking at the door of the Esoteric Tradition. The problem is that he is knocking at the wrong door.
These critical remarks are of little interest to mainsteam ufologists not acquainted with esotericism, for whom Vallee is basically a scientist and UFO investigator. Neither shall my comments be understood as a denigration of his life and work. I have always admired and been inspired by Jacques Vallee. He is definitely at the top of the ufological Parnassus. The Forbidden Science Journals are not for the wider public but are and will remain unique documents in the annals of UFO history.Jacques Vallee is a brilliant scientist, ufologist, esotericist and author but also a sensitive and romantic soul. His love for Janine and their life at the Spring Hill retreat is beautifully portrayed in many of the diary entries: ”As Allen did, I am guided by the certainty that there is another level of consciousness and undiscovered structures of reality, or rather ”meta-reality.” It is that higher level I have been seeking, and occasionally finding in meditation at Spring Hill under the night sky.” (p. 437).