By C. Scotty LittletonI am not a ufologist. I've never investigated a UFO sighting, nor a crop circle, cattle mutilation, or an abduction. Nor, to the best of my conscious knowledge, am I an "experiencer." Twice, when I was young and again a few years ago, I've observed flying objects that didn't fit any categories with which I'm familiar. But I've never had a significant "missing time" episode or other indication that I've been a "guest" aboard an alien ship.
Yet for more decades than I care to remember, I've watched the serious UFO literature--including works by investigators such as Jacques Valleé, Budd Hopkins, John Mack, David Jacobs, Timothy Goode, Linda Moulton Howe, Jenny Randles, Raymond Fowler, Stanton Friedman, Bruce Maccabee, the late Allen Hynek, and Don Ecker of UFO Magazine, to mention a few--grow into an impressive body of data and theory. It is a literature that can no longer be ignored by responsible social scientists, including cultural anthropologists like myself. Thus, I've decided to "come out of the closet," as it were, and assert my belief that the UFO phenomenon is real--despite the carefully orchestrated attempts by our own and other governments to deny its existence, and the skeptics and debunkers who do their best to make persons who take the phenomenon seriously appear ridiculous.
The implications of the UFO phenomenon for anthropologists--or for anyone who would make rational sense out of the human condition--are profound. If Valleé, et al. are correct, humans have been the genetically exploited "lab rats" of one or more extraterrestrial civilizations, whose technological sophistication (evincing Sir Arthur C. Clarke's assertion that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") has allowed them to maintain a clandestine hegemony over this planet for at least the past 13,000 years.
With apologies to the "British Raj," which held hegemony over India from the late seventeenth century to 1947, I've come to conceive of this extraterrestrial presence as the "Alien Raj." Yet that may be a grossly oversimplified picture of the nature of human-alien interaction, especially in ancient times. The "Alien Raj" seems not to have been--and may still not be--monolithic, any more than was the British Raj, even in its nineteenth-century heyday.
Almost every ancient mythology includes at least one rebellious deity, one who willfully violates the divine "rules." For the most part, such figures are what anthropologists call "tricksters," that is, gods or heroes who gain their ends by cleverness, stealth, and liberal applications of magic rather than by sheer divine power. Tricksters are typically reprimanded and/or severely punished for their actions, which, more often than not, involve efforts to transmit elements of divine wisdom or "technology" to mortals.
This article focuses on three trickster deities: (1) The Old Testament figure Lucifer, the "Light-Bearer," who, in defiance of Yahweh, brought self-awareness to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; (2) the Greek deity Prometheus, who rebelled against the authority of Zeus and gave fire to mankind; and (3) the ancient Mesoamerican god Quétzalcoatl, the "Feathered Serpent," known to the Maya as Kukulkan, who was forced into exile because of his efforts on behalf of mankind.
I posit that these and other trickster deities (e.g. the Old Norse god Loki, who built Valhalla but later turned against the supreme god Odin, and the pan-Polynesian god Maui, for whom the island is named) are mythological reflections of one or more extraterrestrial dissidents who rebelled against the Alien Raj's "Prime-Directive"-type policy of non- interference in human affairs--except when it suits the aliens' immediate agenda--and were punished for their actions by the Raj.
The best-known, albeit most misunderstood, of my three examples is Lucifer, the "Fallen Angel" who rebelled against the divine authority of Yahweh and was exiled from Heaven. Soon thereafter, disguised as a serpent, he tricked Adam and Eve into becoming fully sentient, that is, over and above an immediate awareness of their sexual natures. This violated God's policy of "non- interference" in the newly-created humans' affairs, and Lucifer remained an outcast as far as the supreme--and eventually monotheistic--Hebrew deity was concerned.
I suspect that in this story's earliest version, Lucifer, like Prometheus, also gave Adam and Eve the secret of fire-making, as is suggested by his name. Note, although they were eventually conflated, Lucifer should be distinguished from Satan, who entered the Hebrew tradition much later and is derived from the ancient Zoroastrian entity Angra Mainyu, the "Lord of Darkness," who was believed to be in permanent conflict with Ahura Mazda, the "Lord of Light and Goodness." (This latter conflict may also reflect the alien presence, more specifically a conflict between two or more ET species who, some 6,000-7,000 year ago, seem to have fought what amounted to a colonial war for possession of Earth.)
In the fully developed Hebrew religious tradition, the sexual aspect of Lucifer's "gift," together with the defiance of divine authority, assumed a disproportionate importance, and thus, unlike Prometheus, the Hebrew "Light-Bearer" remained a negative figure, an exile deserving his fate. Thus, ironically, the ancient Hebrews came to interpret the mythology surrounding this pro-human figure in much the same way the Alien Raj regarded the behavior of the dissident who inspired it: a clear violation of the rules that could not go unpunished.
A member of the Titans (the elder dieties in ancient Greek tradition), Prometheus defected and sided with the younger Olympian gods, headed by Zeus. (Again, we have the theme of an ancient conflict that probably has alien overtones.) But after the Olympians defeated the Titans and banished their leader (Zeus's father Kronos) to subterranean Tartaros, Prometheus (whose name means "Forethought") grew uneasy with Zeus's intentions toward the newly-created humans. Zeus, the chief Olympian, forbade Prometheus from carrying fire from Heaven and teaching mortals how to use it. Prometheus defied his sovereign and did so anyway. As a result, humans became more than mere dumb animals, just as Lucifer's "gift" permitted Adam and Eve to emulate their creator, at least to a degree.
Enraged, Zeus chained the rebellious god to a mountain top, where an eagle pecked his liver. A colleague, Elizabeth Barber, suggests that this is a metaphor for a volcanic eruption in which the eagle's black wings are the spreading plume of smoke and the god's blood is the red-hot lava flowing down the mountain side. Her interpretation may also be correct, as most mythology is multi-layered; once it was clear that the rebellious gift-giver from the sky was punished, human imagination took over, and the symbolic association of Prometheus's torment with a particularly devastating volcanic eruption took shape.
In time, Zeus's rage abated, and Prometheus came to occupy a heroic position in ancient Greek religion as humanity's chief divine benefactor. This is in stark contrast to the Lucifer myth, nevertheless, the tales are strikingly similar. Indeed, together with R. J. Werblowksi and several other scholars, I suspect there is a historical connection between these two figures, and that they reflect a common Near Eastern account of a rebellious, "light-bearing" pro-human deity who descended from the sky bearing knowledge--technological and otherwise--and was punished and/ or exiled by his "divine"--that is, alien--superiors for his actions on behalf of humanity.
My third example of a "pro-human" deity that seems to derive from a dissident alien prototype is the Mesoamerican "feathered-serpent" god Quétzalcoatl, called Kukulkan by the Maya, who is described as a culture- bearer. A relatively benign deity, at least by the bloody standards of Mesoamerican mythology, Quétzalcoatl, like Lucifer and Prometheus, came to earth to teach his human devotees all manner of useful arts and wisdom. Like the other two divine rebels, by doing so, he angered his fellow gods and was forced into exile, although vowing to return at some future time--a motif implicit in the other two mythologies (Prometheus returned after Zeus pardoned him, and Lucifer's eagerness to return, albeit negatively valued, permeates the Judeo-Christian tradition).
Two elements of the Quétzalcoatl mythology are relevant. First, his "feathered-serpent" image. Several UFO abductees, including Nebraska Highway Patrolman Herbert Schirmer and Betty Andreessen-Luca, have reported seeing winged serpents emblazoned on the abductors' uniforms. Although this element is absent in the Lucifer and Prometheus mythology, Lucifer's reptilian alter ego in the Garden of Eden is noteworthy, and the winged-serpent figure does exist in ancient Greek tradition in the image of the Caduceus (although it's associated with Asclepias, god of medicine, rather than with Prometheus).
Nevertheless, I suspect the image of a winged or feathered serpent is an important and deep-rooted alien symbol, one that may reflect a very ancient extraterrestrial totemic identification that predates the Alien Raj. Thus, one may expect both dissidents, like the prototype of Quétzalcoatl, and the more "establishment" type aliens who abducted Schirmer and Andreasson-Luca, to display it.
The second relevant element in the Quétzalcoatl mythology is the idea that he is fair-skinned. This was one reason Moctezuma initially accepted Hernando Cortes as Quétzalcoatl redux. (Among the alien physical types reported by abductees are the so-called "Nordics": blond, blue-eyed humanoids who sometimes appear in charge.) Although Cortes and his fellow Spaniards didn't entirely match this human type, the dissident alien prototype of Quétzalcoatl could have been a Nordic, and the fact that the Europeans were generally fairer than Mexicans may have led Moctezuma and his people to believe that the god had returned. Of course, they soon realized that Cortes and his rapacious comrades were far from divine, but by then it was too late; the Conquest was a fait accompli.
This may be a lesson for us humans, especially for those "New-Agers" who have seen fit to deify our alien colonial masters.
We have a pattern: A divine being (Lucifer, Prometheus, Quétzalcoatl, and other trickster figures) defies his superiors in the pantheon (Yahweh, Zeus, Huitzilopochitli) and attempts to assist humans. After transmitting some divine lore (self-awareness, the secret of fire-making, writing, etc.) he is punished by his superiors, either physically or by exile. It seems extremely probably that this widespread theme reflects an actual event (or series of events) of some 5,000-odd years ago, one that involved an abortive rebellion against the non-interference policy of the Alien Raj.
Do alien dissidents still exist? One can only wonder, although some abductees/contactees do report being given information that has proven useful. My friend Jack Sarfatti, a post-quantum physicist, asserts that he received an alien "phone call" in 1953 which predicted that he'd make an important breakthrough in 1973. And it happened. Could this phone call have been made by an heir to Prometheus or Quétzalcoatl?
If a dissident movement persists within the Alien Raj, we must contact it and obtain some of that magical technology, and the science behind it. It would appear to be the only realistic way to consider overthrowing the Raj's oppressive hegemony. Only when we discard the notion that our extraterrestrial "visitors," as Whitley Strieber has dubbed them, exist on some higher "spiritual plane" than ourselves can we make rational sense of a phenomenon that has such a profound, albeit clandestine, impact on our existence.
As yet, no hard, incontrovertible evidence exists that my three divine "suspects" were mythological reflexes of ancient alien dissidents. But I submit that the "soft" evidence supporting both the presence of an Alien Raj, and my above hypothesis, is persuasive enough to warrant close collaboration between anthropologists specializing in comparative mythology and folklore, and serious students of the UFO phenomenon.
We anthropologists must overcome the "they shouldn't exist, therefore they don't exist" skeptical mindset frequently encountered in academia, and systematically examine UFO abductee accounts and their congruence with mythology and folklore.
1. Circa 1936 or 1937, when I was three or four years old, I watched what I later came to think of as a "flying French horn"--this was at least a decade before the phrase "flying saucer" entered the lexicon--drift slowly across my nursery window after waking up from an afternoon nap. A half-century later, in March of 1990, while vacationing at the southern tip of Baja California, I woke up at 3:00 a.m. one morning and watched a bright point of light perform a variety of maneuvers over the ocean, including 90-degree turns, that no aircraft I'm aware of can perform. After about three minutes, just as I was about to wake up my wife, the object simply winked out.
2. Exactly how long the aliens have been here is still an open question. The appearance of lenticular, or discoid images on cave walls in Southern France and elsewhere in the late Upper Paleolithic (ca. 13,000 years ago), lends credence to this date, but their arrival could have been earlier--perhaps as far back as 25,000 years ago if some ambiguous African petroglyphs are depictions of alien beings. Some investigators assert aliens have been here for hundreds of thousands of years, and were responsible for hominid evolution, or at least that of anatomically modern Homo sapiens. However, other researchers, such as David Jacobs (personal communication), assert that the alien presence hardly dates back more than a century.
3. Except perhaps to say that Charles Fort's eighty-odd-year-old observation "That once upon a time, this earth was No-Man's land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought among themselves for possession..." now appears remarkably prescient!
4. There may be a purely historical dimension to some of the mythology surrounding the "Feathered-Serpent." We know that a brilliant Toltec prince named Topilzin Quétzalcoatl, who reigned at Tula (ca. A.D. 850-900) and is credited with introducing a variety of useful arts and knowledge, was removed from power by a jealous faction in the ruling dynasty and forced into exile.
5. Additionally, by sheer chance, the year in which the Conquistadores arrived, 1519, marked the end of a 52-year Aztec calendric cycle, at which time miraculous events were supposed to happen, including the return of figures like Quétzalcoatl.
6. My own view here coincides with that of David Jacobs, who suspects that the Nordics are more probably what he calls "late-stage" human-alien hybrids, and thus not the dominant alien species. Nevertheless, they do seem fully integrated into the Alien Raj, at least culturally, and it's not impossible to suggest that one or more of them became disenchanted with "establishment" policy re the "natives" and rebelled against the Raj.