The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

October 5, 2007

I'm giving a talk at the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts on 
a panel dealing with Gray Barker and flying saucers - would appreciate any 
feedback re: below. I want to proceed through the classification scheme to 
issues of the _absence_ of abjection in relation to cleansed or clean 
objects and the 'purity' of sightings and classification schemes -

- Alan

They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, Gray Barker, orig. 1956
The Mothman Prophecies, John A. Keel, orig. 1975
Interstellar Communication, edited A.G.W. Cameron, 1963
Flying Saucers, Serious Business, Frank Edwards, 1966
They Flying Saucer Reader, Jay David, 1967
West Virginia UFOs, Close Enounters in the Mountain State, Bob Teets,
orig. 1995

Well, what do we have in general:

1 There are things in the sky
2 The things appear unfamiliar
3 They often hover
4 They often fly 'erratically'
5 They often have flashing or other lights
6 They are unidentified, i.e. fit in no acceptable category.
7 There are witnesses

8 As with Freud, description, not explanation, i.e. no substructure
9 Or rather substructure on the level of the anecdote
10 Perhaps a relationship between this substructure and psy-a entities

11 In general the things appeared 'manned,' i.e. guided by
alien intelligent organisms
12 The intelligent organisms may make themselves visible to witnesses
13 There are varying degrees and qualities of contact
14 The aliens are defined, i.e. not abject as in many contact films

15 There is a double projection at work:
abjection in contact films, literature, etc.
dialectical and defined in reportage
16 One might say the films are the literal cinematic projection of the
17 And the reportage is the literal introjection of the symbolic

18 Classification from:
The Ranking of UFO Reports: A Possible Methodology, John Prytz,
PFOCON 6, Adelaide, South Australia, October 1981:


Four Quarters:
The "Object"
The Witness
The External Environment: Influences between the object and the witness

Movement / Duration (of movement or event) / Characterics: Color|hint
of shape|defined shape|extra details|extra details defined "(legs,
windows, etc.)"|"Indepth description - occupants noted - high strangeness"

Mechanical Witness: photos/series/cinema/sonar/radar

Physical Evidence:
radioactivity|electro-magnetic trace|geological trace|environmental trace|
UFO fragment

Biological, Physiological and/or Psychological Reaction and Changes:
various durations

Witnesses: numbers of|same or different locations
types of: wild animals|domestic animals|young child|adult human or

Reliability factor of:
poor mental physical condition, known hoaxer through
average to above average in mental/physical condition; expert in
observing abilities and experience

Distance from object:
greater than 10 mi. through less than 50' through inside object

Fog mist etc. through unlimited visibility

Time of day:
Twilight through absolute darkness through daylight

[my additions below]

viewing|communicating (physical signifiers|verbal-acoustic|thought)|
touch|scent|smell|other (static in air|magnetic)|apparent ascertained
causality|action at a distance

remembered|abductee revealing thru hypnosis|revelations by others|
person returned|person not returned|

- this leads into the social: (surgical/sexual/coversant/education/etc.)

Perceived danger|arousal|hysteric|crying|screaming|whispering|awe|fear|
empathy or sympathy|etc.

19 "Tell me a story": Narrative issues:
To the extent that a story can be told (i.e. plot development), abjection
is excluded.
(Or abjection 'bends' the text towards a-coherency, obscenity, etc.)

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