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The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us Paperback – Mar 1 2010
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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.Read more ›
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For me, personally, Jacque Vallee's Messengers of Deception and John Keel's UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse both fall into that latter category. Albeit in admittedly different ways, Vallee and Keel made equally strong cases for the existence of genuine UFOs in our midst. But, both Messengers and Trojan delivered to the reader two far more explicit messages: (A) UFOs are real; but that doesn't mean they are necessarily extraterrestrial; and (B) the phenomenon is clearly deceptive and manipulative in nature and intent.
Of course, for many of the longstanding (a.k.a. the bloody old) players within Ufology, any talk of deceptive messengers, or of Keel's super-spectrum, is dismissed as mere speculation and not much else. For them, UFOs have to be extraterrestrial. After all, they have upheld such notions and beliefs for decades; and to relegate them to the rubbish-bin is not an option.
Well, I have a few choice words for those people who are so rigidly set in their ways: the extraterrestrial hypothesis is itself entirely speculative and totally lacking in hard evidence. All we really know for certain is that there most assuredly is a genuine UFO phenomenon. But, as for definitive proof of its actual point of origin or origins? Please! There is none. At all. There is merely a lot of data clearly demonstrating the presence of unidentified "others" amongst us.
Vallee and Keel most assuredly and astutely recognized this. They understood that a puzzle which - at first glance - seemed to be defined by the presence of nuts-and-bolts spacecraft and flesh-and-blood aliens in our midst, was far, far stranger than many within Ufology wanted to admit.
And there was someone else who also recognized this ufological factor: Mac Tonnies. Mac was a very good friend of mine; and like all his friends I was shocked to the core when he passed away suddenly and tragically in October 2009, at the age of only 34.
But, I am pleased to say, Mac's latest - and, inevitably, final - piece of work ensures that his memory, legacy and ability to think outside of the conventional ufological box will live on. That work is The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us.
Like Vallee and Keel, Mac rightly recognized that UFO encounters could not be dismissed as the ravings of lunatics, the tales of the fantasy-prone, or the lies of those seeking fame and fortune. But, he was also careful not to get sucked into the near-viral mindset that practically screams (take a deep breath): UFOs = alien spaceships piloted by little gray chaps from across the galaxy, who are on a mission to save their dying race by stealing our DNA, eggs and sperm.
Rather, Mac - right up until the time of his death - was chasing down the theory suggesting that the UFOnauts may actually represent the last vestiges of a very ancient race of distinctly terrestrial origins; a race that - tens of thousands of years ago may have ruled our planet, but whose position of power was thrown into overwhelming chaos by two things: (A) the appearance of a "debilitating genetic syndrome" that ravaged their society; and (B) the rising infestation of a violent species that threatened to eclipse - in number - their own society.
They are the Cryptoterrestrials. And that violent species that blusters around like an insane, unruly and spoiled child, and that has done more damage in its short life-time than can ever be truly imagined, is, of course, us.
With their society waning, their health and ability to even successfully reproduce collapsing, and their absolute worst nightmare - the Human Race - becoming the new gang in town, the Cryptoterrestrials followed what was perceived as the only viable option: they quietly retreated into the shadows, into the darkened corners of our world, below the oceans, into the deeper caverns that pepper the planet, and in their own uniquely silent and detached way, set about a new course of action.
That course of action - given that they were in some fashion genetically related to the Human Race - was to eventually resurface; to move amongst us in stealth; to pass themselves off as entities from far-off worlds (as part of a concerted effort to protect and hide their real point of origin); and to use and exploit us - medically - in an attempt to try and inject their waning species with a considerable amount of new blood: ours.
In addition, Mac believed, the Cryptoterrestrials were - and, by definition, still are - subtle-yet-brilliant, cosmic magicians. For them, however, there is no top-hat from which a white-rabbit is pulled. There is no hot babe sliced in half and then miraculously rejoined at the waist. No: their tricks are far more fantastic. As well as deceiving us about their origins, the Cryptoterrestrials have - via, perhaps, the use of advanced hologram-style technology, mind-manipulation and much more - led us to conclude that they have an infinite number of craft, resources and technologies at their disposal.
And that is the trick, the ruse: in actuality, their numbers today may be very small. They may well be staging faked UFO events to try and convince us that they have a veritable armada at their disposal when, perhaps, the exact opposite is the case. And, most important of all, they desperately want us to think of them as visitors from the stars. If their plan to rejuvenate their species is to work, then stealth, subterfuge and camouflage are the essential orders of the day.
Of course, the above all amounts to a theory - just like the ETH. And, Mac's book makes it very clear that he is theorizing, rather than being able to provide the reader with definitive proof for such a scenario. He does, however, offer a logical, and at times powerful, argument in support of the theme of his book.
As for so-called "alien abductions": the clumsy, intrusive means by which ova and sperm are taken by a race of beings we are led to believe are countless years ahead of us is addressed. That the ability of the aliens to wipe out the memories of those they abduct is constantly and regularly overturned by nothing more than simple hypnosis is highlighted. And the unlikely scenario that our DNA would even be compatible, in the first place, with extraterrestrial entities is also firmly dissected. Mac's conclusion: all this points not to the presence of highly-advanced aliens who are thousands of years ahead of us; but to the actions of an ancient Earth-based society whose technology may not be more than a century or so in advance of our current knowledge.
Mac also noted how the "aliens" seem to spend a hell of a lot time ensuring they are seen: whether its taking "soil-samples" at the side of the road; equipping their craft with bright, flashing lights; or hammering home the point to the abductees that they are from this planet, from that star-system, or from some far off galaxy. Just about anywhere aside from right here, in fact.
Roswell comes into the equation, too: and in ingenious fashion. Those who do not adhere to the extraterrestrial hypothesis for Roswell point to the fact that many of the witness descriptions of what was found at Roswell, are collectively suggestive of some form of large balloon-type structure having come down at the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, NM on that fateful day in the summer of 1947.
The possibility that ET would be flying around New Mexico in a balloon is absurd. But, as Mac notes, a race of impoverished, underground-dwellers, highly worried by the sudden influx of military activity in New Mexico (White Sands, Los Alamos etc), just might employ the use of an advance balloon-type vehicle to secretly scope out the area late at night.
Perhaps, when elements of the U.S. military came across the debris, they really did assume it was balloon-borne material and probably of American origin. Until, maybe, they stumbled across something else amid the debris, too...
The Cryptoterrestrials continues in a similar vein; to the extent that we are left with a stark and surreal image of a very ancient - and very strange - race of beings who may once have been the masters of this planet; who were sidelined thousands of years ago; and who are now - under cover of darkness and while the cities sleep - forced to grudgingly surface from their darkened lairs and interact with the very things they fear (and perhaps even hate and despise) most of all: us.
Survival is the name of their game. And deception is the means by which it is being cunningly achieved.
Whether you agree with Mac's theorizing or not, The Cryptoterrestrials is a book that is expertly and beautifully written. It challenges the reader to throw out old, rigid views. It represents the careful studies of a man who knew he was going out on a limb - but who, thankfully, didn't give a damn about appeasing the UFO research community in fawning style. And, for me, it truly is a Messengers of Deception for the 21st Century and for Generation-Next.
For "The Cryptoterrestrials," Tonnies interviewed some of the most original thinkers inside and outside of the UFO field, and studied their writings. He decided (as a few others did) that the concept of alien life from other planets did not explain many of the reported high strangeness aspects of the phenomenon: Why do these so-called "aliens" apparently need to abduct people over and over? Why do they need so many tries to learn what we can already decipher from one biological sample? Such bizarre behavior could certainly use a better explanation.
Tonnies presents another line of thought: Perhaps non-humans, if they truly exist, exhibit the interest they do because they are as intimately connected to the Earth as us and other living things. Such concern would be evident if they actually shared our planet.
This book is for those who want to explore the newest speculation on the age-old question of apparent non-humans and their possible interactions with us. Tonnies does not wish to push his theory as the final word on the subject. Those looking for definitive answers will not find a great deal of comfort here. If you are looking for enlightened and intelligent discussion on anomalies in general and on the UFO subject in particular, you are in for a treat.
In his manuscript for `The Cryptoterrestrials' the late Mac Tonnies reheats these old ideas and stirs in the speculations of Jacques Vallee, John Keel and others from past decades that an Earth-bound intelligence is behind at least some of the UFO phenomenon and attempts societal manipulation by deceiving humans with whom it chooses to interact into believing they're seeing extraterrestrials. He names the resulting stew his `Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis' (CTH for short). However the CTH as explained in the book is neither a new idea nor a true hypothesis, as (unlike the ETH) it lacks supporting evidence and fails to address the obvious questions. It's a loose unfinished essay more than a book; speculation rather than serious theory, and perhaps the author's own term a `meditation' is more appropriate.
Mac admitted he did no original research, no field work and conducted no interviews with UFO witnesses or experiencers: he was an armchair theorist and internet blogger, absorbing and rehashing the work of others, usually with intelligence and eloquence. The author rails against the ETH and those who give it credence, and repeats Vallee's old arguments from the 1970s thus:
"That the UFO phenomenon is so rampant argues against extraterrestrial origin and favors an intelligence with a penchant for theater..." (p36)
Like Vallee, Mac fails to convince us why the ubiquity of UFO encounters and the frequent attendant strangeness rules out an extraterrestrial origin. On the contrary, many argue more convincingly that this very ubiquity and strangeness - and more especially the occasionally evident "penchant for theater" - forcibly strengthens the ETH. Tonnies then promptly reveals his hand by falling into the anthropomorphic trap typical of Sagan or Shostak by declaring "I believe genuine ET visitors would not do this, instead they would do that..."
So this is evidently the root of the author's thought process: a crypto-anthropomorphic belief-system which allows for certain beliefs and disallows others, regardless of evidence.
His `meditation' may be summarised as follows:
1. UFOs and alien/humanoid encounters are definitely real phenomena: the number of accounts over time is high and geographically dispersed, and the narratives reasonably consistent
So far so good, but then the belief-driven mindset kicks in:
2. I do not believe that `genuine' extraterrestrials would behave like this: they wouldn't do what they are reported to do, they should be doing something else instead because my belief-system says so
3. However, an Earth-originated tribe of elusive `cryptoterrestrials' can be imagined who I can accept might do these things
4. Furthermore we can fantasise that these imagined cryptoterrestrials might suffer from some genetic malady which would explain their abductions of humans; be reclusive and declining in number; and engage in theatrical deception to convince the human population with whom they share the planet that they are extraterrestrial
The argument, such as it is, is assumptive and full of holes. The case against the ETH is not proven, and even a weak case for the so-called `CTH' is not successfully made. What we're left with is yesterday's leftovers, speculative ideas re-heated, spiced and served with new garnish, supported by no evidence.
There is also unfortunately more than a hint of arrogance: of youthful confidence (the author was only 34 when he died in October 2009) believing its intellect superior to older, wiser minds and even misrepresenting - perhaps through misunderstanding rather than intent - the convictions of others in order to demonstrate this superior intellect. One example of many: he more than once claims Budd Hopkins to be a champion of the ETH, a hypothesis pilloried and rejected by Mac as misguided and plain wrong. Well, I happen to know not only Budd Hopkins' writings but the man himself very well personally, and have spent many rich hours with him over the years in face-to-face discussion. In the many hundreds of cases investigated over 35 years and in all his writings, lectures and works, he has never declared any firm belief that the abductors are of extraterrestrial origin. He refers to them as `alien' advisedly: as he says, this word denotes `others', a different intelligence than us, outsiders. Whether they are from The Pleiades, from the center of the Earth, from another `dimension', time travellers or some other phenomenon hitherto unknown is of supreme irrelevance to him and something about which he does not and will not speculate. That so many abductions are linked to structured craft - UFOs - is certain, as there are simply too many cases and too much evidence for any field investigator to deny. But this is not the same thing as belief in the ETH: to characterize Hopkins this way is to misrepresent his views - knowing or unknowing, it's still misrepresentation. It would have been easy to find out Budd's views on this issue: just ask him. Tonnies obviously never bothered, and there is a bit too much of this kind of thing in his short book, I'm afraid, and rather too much assumptive and not-too-well-informed speculation masquerading as intellectual superiority for my taste.
The writing however is refreshingly literate. The author favors vocabulary difficult for most readers (one of Mac's favourite words - memes - seems to equal the late John Mack's reliance on `ontological' to explain himself) and rarely uses a familiar or simple word where something more obscure is available. Taken more or less at random, from p106:
"...these `emissaries' are enticingly liminal...their home turf seems to be a Keelian interzone, as if their passport to our domain forever hovers on the verge of expiration."
Well, you get the idea: keep your dictionary close by. This might make reading the short book a mildly challenging experience for some. And `short' is used advisedly: the book is only 120 pages including the praise-gushing foreword by Nick Redfern and afterword by Greg Bishop, obviously friends and champions of Mac. As a print-on-demand title from Anomalist Books, it has to be said the quality ain't that great. My copy arrived with the text noticeably misaligned to the page at a 10-degree angle on the first 36 pages, and after one careful reading the binding is so poor that the pages are already mostly detached from the spine and falling out, which does not bode well for the longevity of this edition nor its saleability on the second-hand market in future years. A few typos have eluded the editing process. Nadia Sobin's striking cover image may help sales a bit, as imaginary and speculative as the content of the text. The small cartoons at the start each chapter are a nice touch though, and well drawn.
So in summary: an unfinished essay slightly over-hyped as an `important' book, which it isn't. At best, it's old ideas repackaged into an unsupported and speculative `meditation.' If you've read Jacques Vallee's books from the 1970s to the 1990s and John Keel's `UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse' then you've read this stuff before. Two stars for the literacy and the cartoons. However you may find the book mildly irritating if you value genuine investigation, use of the scientific method or original thought, because unfortunately there ain't much of any of this in evidence, and for these reasons this book doesn't deserve a higher rating. It's OK in its limited way and quite well written, but there's better reading out there on the subject if your time is valuable.
RIP Mac, and may you find the answers wherever you are now.
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.