March saw the release of author and blogger Mac Tonnies' much anticipated book The Cryptoterrestrials, "A meditation on indigenous humanoids and the aliens among us." Tragically, Tonnies died in his sleep on October 18, 2009, at the young age of 34, prompting many to question if his death was entirely natural. He was just weeks away from turning in his manuscript to his publisher, and with the help of family members and friends, his final draft has now been published by Anomalist Books.
The book is not so much an elucidation of his theory, as a devastating critique of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) and the rigid thinking of "mainstream" ufology. Tonnies' book is rich with questions and insightful speculations about what could be behind the UFO phenomenon. He follows in the footsteps of Charles Fort (The Complete Books of Charles Fort
), Jacques Vallee (Passport to Magonia: On Ufos, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds
) and John Keel (The Eighth Tower
) in pointing out the many reasons why a new approach to the study of UFOs and "aliens" is desperately needed. While I do not necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, and he is at times overly optimistic (a fact to which he admits in his last chapter), Tonnies' book offers much food for thought on the subject of UFOs, "aliens", and the paranormal. He points out the links between the "little people" of folklore and Grays of today, asking if they are one and the same, "distorted representations of an actual species":
"Maybe the ubiquitous Gray is simply a costume that works, in which case one can't help but yearn for a glimpse of next year's fashion . . . For too long, we've called them aliens, assuming that we represent our planet's best and brightest. Maybe that's exactly what they want us to think." (p 26)
He contrasts this idea with Vallee's idea of an "omniscient pacemaker sowing memes in an effort to ensure our evolution conform[s] to some unknown alien ideal" through "artificially emplaced psychosocial conditioning". He also notes the inherent between the UFO's "explicitly physical" nature and their paranormal qualities, citing the research of Keel. UFOs are observed performing "mysterious disappearances, "impossible" maneuvers, and [showing] a predilection for trickery." In other words, they behave more like holographic projections, and the absurdity of their appearance and the behaviors of their "occupants" is what prompted Keel to propose that they are cosmic tricksters.
But are these contradictory ideas - physical humanoids vs. omniscient meme-ometer, physical vs. paranormal - mutually exclusive? I think that the existence of a fourth spatial dimension, elucidated in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's High Strangeness: Hyperdimensions and the Process of Alien Abduction
could reconcile these apparent contradictions. Such a dimension of variable physicality could account for the "postbiological Singularity" which Tonnies proposes. In other words, it isn't postbiological (i.e. a marriage of physical technology with biology) so much as a totally different kind of biology, along the lines of Tonnies speculation about the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum theory, "in which our universe bifurcates each time a subatomic event's wave function "collapses":
"Could the human brain, suitably "tuned", produce comparable results? Given reports of humanoid beings "materializing" and "disappearing," it's tempting to speculate that our visitors have mastered a technology of consciousness, able to manipulate their own wave functions and skip back and forth between multiple universes at the speed of thought. This is one (admittedly colorful) explanation for the lack of physical evidence; "they" might lurk in "hyperspace" as well as familiar, 3-D space-time. Moreover, this form of travel might be accomplished without the need for energy-intensive machinery; if shamanic experiences are any indication, the ability to transcend space and time might be a more fitting subject for parapsychologists than theoretical physicists." (p. 32)
While Tonnies admits that his hypothesis is more "flesh-and-blood", he notes that the theories are not mutually exclusive, and that "we would be timid to avoid addressing the UFO phenomenon's parapsychological aspects." (p. 33) Criticizing Vallee's multiverse and Keel's "superspectrum", he rightly points out that both theories require "nothing less than a redefinition of the physical universe." (p. 37) He's got that right, but I think that is exactly what is needed. While Tonnies' hypothesis is interesting, and accounts for a lot of data, I still think that the hyperdimensional hypothesis covers more ground, and even takes into account a certain variation of the "CT" hypothesis.
Richard Dolan has called such a scenario a "breakaway civilization" - a group humans or humanoids, most likely living in the vast underground bases researched by Dr. Richard Sauder (Underground Bases and Tunnels: What is the Government Trying to Hide?
), who may very well be influencing the men behind the scenes of world power. Such a civilization may well have been here for a very long time, and we may even share some common ancestry, as Tonnies hypothesizes. But I think that such an idea is better seen as simply one facet of a reality which is much more all-encompassing, and does require a radical redefinition of the physical universe, and our place in it.
Tonnies offers some eminently plausible and frightening speculation along the lines of Keel. For example:
"Given the vast number of reported out-of-body and near-death experiences, I find it difficult to reject the prospect of "nonlocal" consciousness; perhaps a sufficiently advanced technology can manipulate the "soul" as easily as we splice genes or mix chemicals in test tubes. If so, encounters with "extraterrestrials" may help provide a working knowledge of how to modify and transfer consciousness." (p. 53)
As Tonnies observes, the flashing lights and tantalizing playfulness of the "others" seems staged. It's as if they want us to see them. And what are we to make of all the various shapes of craft and cryptids? And how to explain that the sightings seem to match the expectations of the observers and morph throughout time (e.g. the great airships of the late 1800s)?
"If the ET intent is to test our reactions to its presence (or something more profound, as the phenomenon's impact on our mythology might indicate), quickly assembling "ships" and even "aliens" from raw materials would enable the disparity of forms seen in the sky. The flexibility of nanotech construction would allow the UFO intelligence to respond to our preconceptions in "real time," thereby ensuring a permanent foothold in the collective unconscious while maintaining plausible deniability... (p. 25)
"While one can argue endlessly in favor of a literal extraterrestrial interpretation, a holistic approach leads us to consider that the UFO intelligence not only wants to perpetuate itself via dramatic encounters with ostensible "occupants," but intends to discredit its own machinations: it stages exciting UFO events that infect both the research community and the popular imagination, knowing that the phenomenon's inherent absurdity will eventually inspire cognitive dissonance and undermine attempts to arrive at an indictment. We're thus conditioned to accept the ETH one moment only to succumb to the "giggle factor" the next..." (p. 44)
As I said, I don't think Tonnies' conclusions are all that, but his thinking is sharp, and his ideas are both fun to read and important to think about. You can also read the book in one or two sittings, so I think it's worth checking out.