ANCIENT MYSTERIES hosted by Leonard Nimoy is an interesting and valuable series on topics that range from Camelot, The Lost Colony of Roanoke, Troy, Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle to Erich von Daniken CHARIOTS OF THE GODS territory with this entry titled UFOs - THE FIRST ENCOUNTERS. The series bounced around from network television to A&E on cable, and now it is available for consumption on DVD. This is fortunate.
UFOs - THE FIRST ENCOUNTERS provides a superb background to the many other DVDs now available on the topic of UFOs, the best of which is the film OUT OF THE BLUE. This program, for example, goes back to the original Hebrew meanings of words found in the Holy Bible in English. What did words like Nephilim really mean? Some religion scholars, clerics, and conservative interpreters of the Bible --who believe everything that they were taught in Sunday school because they choose to consider every word in their translated Bibles to be Gospel -- understandably object to having events and miracles in the Bible being seen as evidence of visitations of entities from another solar system. Perhaps some of the interpretations might be seen to be reaching a bit at times, but the speculations of these modern science-influenced thinkers and explorers are just as credible as the supernatural, often simplistic interpretations of the Sunday school scholars whose belief-structures have not advanced since the Middle Ages. Many, but certainly not all, seek to rule out anything that does not conform to what has been passed down to them through generations and seem to maintain the attitude: "My mind is made up; don't confuse me with facts."
This program does not claim to be the last word on any topic. It offers mere speculation, a fresh perspective on topics based on more recent scientific evidence. It does not preach to us -- it merely presents an array of goodies from which we can choose. Leonard Nimoy, who influenced more than one generation of STAR TREK fans with his portrayal of the logic-minded, half-alien Mr. Spock, adds dignity to the series. However, his distinctive voice does not ask us to swallow whole hog every word from the narrative. He merely asks us to approach this topic -- as with every topic in the series-- with an open mind. The script allows us to think for ourselves.
The illustrations used in the program are mere artistic interpretations. They do not claim to be empirically verifiable evidence. In the excellent fictional film DEAD POET'S SOCIETY, John Keating (Robin Williams) asks his male students to stand on their desks in order to view the world from a new, and individual, perspective. This program UFOs -- THE FIRST ENCOUNTERS does the same.
What if we looked at what we have been taught from a different perspective? What if the pillar of fire in the desert leading the Hebrew people was a manifestation provided by an alien race? What if the silvery shields that Alexander the Great reports seeing were actually UFOs? The descriptions certainly suggest something of that nature. What fired the beams at the walls of a city that Alexander and his troops were attempting to conquer?
Okay. We are taught in logic class that he who asserts must prove the argument. He or she cannot ask someone to prove that something didn't happen. This is called ignoring the burden of proof. We also supposedly cannot beg the question -- arrive at a conclusion based on premises that we have not yet proven.
Does UFOs -- THE FIRST ENCOUNTERS ask us to prove that something did NOT happen, as the alleged psychic at the end of the silly Ed Wood film PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE asks audiences? Does this program ask us to accept conclusions based on premises that have not been proven? Not that I noticed.
If you can, buy the DVD of the film OUT OF THE BLUE, a film that dares to offer some pretty compelling evidence -- not only of the possibility that UFOs are not of this earth -- but also of some cover-ups in the past. Credible witnesses like our ex-president and Nobel Prize winning scholar Jimmy Carter cannot be so easily dismissed. Even our ex-president Ronald Reagan spotted what appeared to be UFOs and asked what would happen to the various, quarreling nations of the world if we were faced with a threat from outer space. Even Arthur Godfrey, venerable radio and television personality, reported sighted a UFO from his private plane. Even Gordon Cooper, former astronaut, claims in interviews to have seen extraterrestrial visitors (or onlookers) while in space. These are not witnesses from early history who lacked the knowledge of science that we possess today.
Robin Williams as John Keating in DEAD POET'S SOCIETY tells his students to think for themselves. Try it. It takes a little more effort than lazily believing what you have been taught or led to believe for a long time, but it might just be worth the effort.