Otherworld entities encompass a huge range of seemingly disparate manifestations. On the one hand we have the traditional fairy lore of elves, gnomes, pixies, water sprites and so on. On the other hand we have ghosts and other spooky things that go bump in the night. We also have werewolves, vampires and a vast array of crypto zoological creatures such as black dogs, yetis, and lake monsters, along with mystery cats that allegedly roam our countryside. To add to the confusion we also have UFO's and aliens, which have appeared in a variety of guises, some humanoid, some exotic and others totally bizarre. These are included in this article because UFO's and their alleged occupants are no longer regarded by serious students of the subject to originate from other planets and far-flung regions of the universe. Studies over the past 20 to 30 years suggest that these manifestations probably have a psychic or inter-dimensional nature, which will be dealt with later.
To most individuals with both feet planted firmly in this world, the very mention of Otherworld entities may sound nonsensical. But interaction between the human race and alien entities appears to have existed since the dawn of humanity, and in the opinion of many continues to the present day. In fact, despite the rather fanciful claims of some sensationalist writers who assert that God is an astronaut, there is indeed evidence to suggest that many religious systems came into existence as a direct result of what was perceived to be contact with alien entities, but possibly entities from some unknown reality rather than from outer space. It is said that these entities are able to manipulate energy in such a way that they can enter our reality and assume temporary physical form. Some regard them as angels and others regard them as demons, depending very much on one's personal religious viewpoint.
Unfortunately the entire issue of Otherworld entities is often surrounded by fantasy and exaggeration, and the matter is not helped by some writers who persist in citing examples long since exposed as hoaxes or which have been satisfactorily explained in more prosaic terms. If that is not confusing enough, there are conspiracy theories claiming official cover-ups and some of these theories may indeed be valid, but not necessarily in the way one might expect. For example, there are those who say that the U.S. government, since the end of the Second World War, has encouraged a belief in flying saucers to provide a smokescreen behind which top secret military aircraft can be developed and tested. Should the general public, or even other military departments not involved with classified activities, witness something unusual in American airspace then the flying saucer issue provides a perfect distraction because owing to its possibly deliberate association with the lunatic fringe few people are likely to take such reports seriously.
Some researchers go further and argue that the use of drugs and hypnosis have been used by intelligence agencies to stage alien abduction scenarios, and anyone who has witnessed the illusionist Derren Brown in action will have little doubt that people can be made to believe and experience all sorts of weird and wonderful things. But putting aside cover-ups, misinterpretations, misinformation, hoaxes, and sensationalist books based more on fiction than fact, then how do we begin to make sense of the issue of Otherworld entities? Some might say that we should not even bother; that it is all nonsense, which is all very well as long as you yourself never come face to face with an entity from another world. So what exactly is this Otherworld? Clearly some understanding of it is necessary when attempting to understand the various entities associated with it.
With the arrival of quantum physics the Newtonian view that the universe is a gigantic machine of which the various heavenly bodies are simply components, is no longer tenable. The planets and the ground beneath our feet might appear to be solid but at the quantum level they are really expressions of energy in a constant state of flux, as are all forms of matter. Self-confessed atheist and arch-sceptic Professor Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and believes that the human brain has evolved to interact with what we call the 'real world' in a way we can make sense of it:
'What we see of the world is not the real world but a model of the real world, regulated and adjusted by sense data; a model that is constructed so that it is useful for dealing with the real world'. Richard Dawkins
However, what is not part of the standard scientific view of reality is the recognition that the earth, along with every other physical body, penetrates into other realms of existence, all of which we as human beings under normal mundane conditions are blissfully unaware. So if there is a reality beyond the world we call the 'real' one, is it the world of spirit? One of the problems with assuming there is a world of spirit is in explaining how spirit can interact with matter, when the two are perceived as fundamentally different in nature. But drawing a distinction between so-called spirit and matter is a product of dualistic thinking; perhaps reality is far more holistic than most humans can imagine. For example, some esoteric traditions refer to soul rather than a soul or the soul. The use of the indefinite or definite article before the word soul implies that it is something each of us possess, reinforcing the idea of a dualistic distinction between the possessor and that which is possessed, when in fact soul is what we generate. Certain ancient esoteric systems indeed subscribed to this view.
The planet that we live on also generates soul, known by the Latin term, Anima Mundi. It is within this domain, if we can call it such, that archetypes reside. Archetypes pervade the collective unconscious and according to Carl Jung can never be known directly, but only accessed through the ideas and symbolism they generate. Consequently we in turn play a part in generating Anima Mundi for the soul of the world is within us and we are within it. After death the various components comprising a living creature and the energy it has generated separate and eventually dissolve. According to some systems of belief this includes soul and also the astral body, which is absorbed into the astral realm in the same way that a drop of water is absorbed into the ocean.
Sometimes a shade or image of a person is temporarily left in the astral and when it is perceived on the temporal plane it is usually recognised as a ghost or a spectre. The word 'spectre' is an interesting one. It is actually a French word, meaning ghost, and is derived from the Latin word 'spectrum', which, as everyone knows, means the entire compass of anything arranged by degree. The degree of the spectrum within which humans have evolved is what we call the temporal plane, and astral shades can manifest on this plane with little difficulty. In esoteric jargon, such a shade is known as an eidolon, which is a Greek term roughly meaning an image.
It is said that there also is another category of shade, which is the residue of a tortured being. In some malevolent individuals soul does appear to be absent, hence the term 'soulless beings' to describe those who are clearly spiritually un-evolved. This shade can be quite troublesome if manifesting on the earth plane, to which it often tends to gravitate as a way of expressing its depraved nature. In other cases a remnant of a deceased being might manifest on the temporal plane as the result of some tragedy that was experienced. Other remnants might manifest quite benignly owing to an attraction to some place where happiness was experienced during the lifetime of the individual.
Certain geographical locations on the temporal plane are predisposed to paranormal manifestations. In other words, there are places on this planet where the veil between the mundane world and other levels of reality is believed to be quite thin. The UFO researcher John Keel described them as 'window areas', through which entry to and from this world can be achieved. Many of these window areas are said to be located around the site of stone circles, sacred wells and other ancient sites, or where ley lines cross, which is why these places tend to exhibit a fairly high incidence of paranormal activity and unexplained phenomena.
In addition there are in-between, or liminal, places; doorways are an example because they symbolise both entry and exit. A feature of some ghostly activity is the opening of locked doors or the sound of doors slamming shut. Another example is staircases, which are also in-between structures, and these are frequently the focus of ghostly activity. You may be familiar with the old rhyme:
?'esterday upon the stair I met a man who was not there. Again I met that man today, oh how I wish he'd go away'.
Roads too feature widely in reports of hauntings and yet despite the number of fatal traffic accidents research seems to confirm that these have little to do with ghostly manifestations on our highways and by-ways. Like staircases, roads are transitional in nature. Many sightings of UFO's and alien abductions occur in proximity to roads, especially isolated roads with very little traffic flow. Bridges also are in-between structures and they too are noted for a high incidence of ghostly activity. Some might argue that bridges are tailor-made for jumping off and that is why so many are often haunted, which indeed may be true. On the other hand, some individuals who have been tempted to leap off a bridge but were saved in the nick of time say afterwards that the bridge had drawn them in some mysterious way. Black dogs and white ladies are often also associated with bridges, more so if the bridge spans a river. The writer Patrick Harpur tends to think there is a connection between these two manifestations, on the grounds that both represent opposites and therefore are two sides of the same coin; one is black and animal and the other is white and human. Another factor relating to ghostly activity is the time of day and many UFO sightings occur in the evening, which is an in-between or bridging period between day and night.
It might seem illogical to attribute any man-made structure, whether it is a bridge, staircase, door, or roadway to an increased likelihood of ghostly activity, but it has to be borne in mind that what we construct on the material plane is reflected in the astral plane. Many take the view that when these man-made structures exist within proximity to ley lines or window areas, then the chances of paranormal activity is further increased. Window areas are in fact portals into the realm of the fey, but mention faeries or their realm to the average person and the response is likely to be mockery. Nowadays most people's ideas of faeries conform to the sort of twee illustrations in Victorian children's books or popular depictions of flower faeries. Many take the view that the romanticism of faeries by the Victorians was an attempt to tame Nature and the energies associated with it. This explanation may possibly be true because in earlier times people were quite fearful of the 'little people' and folklore has provided us with records of how people generally regarded faeries and their domain.
The faeries, or as I sometimes refer to them, the fey, are said to be non-human entities with certain magical abilities and are able to become visible or invisible at will and have the ability to shape-shift. They are believed to inhabit a world that in some way is quite close to the human world. Under normal conditions, however, humans cannot enter the realm of the fey unless by accident or by being taken there, hence the expression 'pixie-led'. But once a human has gained entry into the realm of the fey it is fatal to consume any food or drink offered by the fair folk or one will remain a captive in their world forever. If one is fortunate to escape back into the so-called real world then one discovers a loss of time, suggesting that the passage of time between this world and the world of the fey is quite different. An example of this is highlighted in the folk-tale of Rip Van Winkle who, on returning home after what seemed an overnight encounter with certain fair folk, discovered that 20 years had passed.
One method believed in Celtic cultures of passing into the realm of the fey was by stepping into fairy rings and disappearing. Fairy rings are areas of dark green grass seen in meadows and are caused by underground fungi. At certain times toadstools appear around the ring, and grazing animals tend to avoid these areas. However, because we live in a technological society, rather than a predominantly rural one, the fairy ring as an entrance into the world of the fey seems to have been superseded by a hovering ring of light, described in popular terms as a flying saucer. Abduction victims often claim to have been taken within a ring and teleported through a vertical beam of light extending from the ground upwards. Interestingly, the similarity of shape between the beam and the ring above resembles the shape of the traditional faery toadstool.
The alleged occupants of these saucer manifestations are described as quite small in stature, a physical trait they share with the traditional fey. These alien entities are known to assume a variety of forms, which means, like the fey, they can present themselves in any guise they choose. The fact that these saucer entities have been known to leave physical marks or bruises on humans they have abducted implies that, also like the fey, they occupy a world quite close to our own and can interact with it. Witnesses sometimes describe colour changes as the saucers enter our reality. The initial colours, such as circles of violet light, are often in the higher areas of the spectrum. As the saucer continues to materialise then the colours tend to gradually descend through the spectrum to orange and red. It is also interesting that red is a colour associated with another type of manifestation, that of the black dog whose eyes are traditionally described as red. One witness compared the eyes to red lenses lit from behind by a battery, rather like two bicycle taillights. As to whether the eyes of black dogs emit other colours during the process of entering our reality no one really knows, because black dogs tend to appear and disappear quite suddenly.
So are witnesses deluded when they report encounters with Otherworld entities and strange lights in the sky? Are such experiences all in the mind? The phrase 'all in the mind' is quite a misleading one, which is why many modern psychologists have questioned the concept that there is a mind 'inside' us separating us from the external world. As for the deranged and attention seekers, or those who enjoy perpetrating hoaxes, serious investigators know how to weed out these individuals. Most witnesses come to the attention of investigators after experiencing problems with sleeplessness, bad dreams, and instances where they have experienced a loss of time. The events very often only become apparent during hypnotic regression therapy, and there is a certain consistency in what these witnesses describe. This implies that their experiences cannot be written off as purely subjective. For example, there is often some form of communication between the abducted individual and the entity; the entity might ask a question and then allow a question in return but seldom provide an answer, or if an answer is provided it tends to be vague or nonsensical, or even blatantly false and misleading. Entities might claim, for instance, that they come from some planet science now knows is unable to sustain any form of intelligent life. Once upon a time it was the Moon or Venus; nowadays it's some far-flung constellation such as the Pleiades, which is why some researchers suspect the possibility that the entities are playing some kind of game with humans in the way that the fey traditionally do.
Sometimes the entities give warnings or make predictions regarding some future event that rarely if ever comes true. Some researchers give the entities the benefit of the doubt by suggesting that the information is misunderstood owing to the fact that it seems to be transmitted telepathically. Others take a more cynical view. One of these was Emanuel Swedenborg who, back in the 18th century said:
'When spirits begin to speak with a man, he must be aware that he believe nothing that they say. For nearly everything they say is fabricated by them, and they lie: for if they are permitted to narrate anything, as to what heaven is and how things in the heavens are to be understood, they would tell so many lies that a man would be astonished. This they would do with solemn affirmation'.
A century later Sir Walter Scott, who was something of an authority on the paranormal, noted that human visitors to the realm of the fey soon discovered that its grand palaces turned out to be dank caverns, its beautiful princesses wrinkled and hideous hags, and that the whole experience lacked any substance at all. However, a less cynical way of looking at such a paradox might provide us with a deeper understanding of the fey. A well-known folk-tale, of which there are different versions, tells the story of a midwife who is approached by one of the fey requesting that she goes with him to deliver the child of a fairy woman. After having successfully delivered the child the midwife is given a small pouch as a reward. However on no account, she is told, must she examine the contents of the pouch until she has arrived home again. If she complies with the conditions then the midwife discovers to her delight that the pouch contains gold. But if on the way home she is tempted to look inside the pouch then to her dismay she discovers that all it contains are pebbles or some other worthless material.
This tale is rather interesting because of its allegorical connection to the uncertainty principle in quantum science. At the quantum level waves become particles and particles become waves, depending on how they are perceived. Therefore, when we look into the quantum field we see only one outcome based on the expectation of the observation. Consequently, if choosing to disobey the fey, then the midwife sees only that which is worthless. On the other hand, if she complies with her instructions then what she sees is pure gold. This tale suggests that the contradictory and fickle nature and the mischievousness associated with the fey might be undeserved. As quantum science confirms, our own participation is vital to the outcome and the laws that govern our relationship with the fey may indeed be the same laws that govern reality at the quantum level. Perhaps our ancestors knew this intuitively.
Our ability to create order out of chaos, therefore, is dependent on the limits of our perception. To conceive of anything entirely alien far exceeds the limits of human comprehension. The so-called aliens depicted in science fiction can never be truly alien; they have to be composite creations possessing some human characteristics along with imaginary exotic features. Without the human characteristics it would be impossible to identify with them as characters. The same essential need for a frame of reference is why most people perceive of God in anthropomorphic terms. The problem here, of course, is that God has long been perceived as an old man in the sky when, in fact, the true nature of God, if he exists at all, is beyond human understanding. If we bear this in mind, we then begin to see why the issue of Otherworld entities often generates a degree of absurdity. An example of this is reflected in the experience of a certain young woman living in a country district of the United States.
One evening she was driving back to her farm when her pickup truck ground to a halt and the engine cut out, a typical sort of failure in UFO reports. A few minutes later a car came over the hill in the opposite direction, drove passed three times before pulling up behind her. Three, by the way, is a number long associated with the fey. When the driver emerged to offer assistance the woman noticed nothing unusual about him, except that the brim of the Stetson he was wearing was over four feet in diameter! The stranger failed to restart the truck and went on his way. Eventually a friend later rescued the young woman, who then discovered that over an hour of her time was unaccounted for. Loss of time and the fact that one fails, as when dreaming, to acknowledge the absurdity of it all during the experience is common when one encounters an alien entity.
Another example of absurdity relates to the Men in Black, or MIB as they are often called. The MIB tend to appear in threes and turn up unexpectedly on the doorsteps of individuals investigating UFO sightings. They are usually threatening and intimidating in an over-exaggerated sort of way, rather like very bad actors. It is as though these various entities are caricatures in some way, rather like the proverbial tourist who tries too hard to mimic the locals by dressing up in national costume. But rather than blending in, the tourist?s attempt to 'go native' is quite ridiculous. And so it seems to be with certain aliens who penetrate our reality.
Another and possibly more frightening aspect of our relationship with the fey is the belief that they are able to breed with the human race, or to steal human babies and leave one of their own in its place. Such a being was known as a changeling, or an auf in bygone days. An auf led to the word oaf, meaning an idiot and the former word is believed to be a variant of 'elf'. There are many reports of aliens undertaking medical examinations on humans. One doctor who is also a UFO researcher points out that the procedures conducted by the entities are nothing like conventional medical procedures; the entities tend to ignore all the vital organs of the body and to focus mostly on the head or stare into the abducted person's eyes from very close quarters. At other times the entities will examine the entire skin surface and one is reminded here of the practise in bygone days of witch hunters probing victims all over for evidence of witch marks, which might be moles or small skin blemishes. Many modern abductees have reported having had needles inserted through their navels. Rather curiously, a 15th century illustration depicts demons inserting lances directly through their victims' navels. Some researchers associate the needles and lances with the umbilical cord and suggest that this might relate to a pre-birth memory. Other researchers with a psychology background take this further and point to the physical similarity between human foetuses and the entities known as the small greys. Both are very small with hairless craniums that are very large in proportion to the rest of the body and both have under-developed limbs.
A correlation by investigators has also been noted between the birth canal and the beam of light through which an abducted person enters the saucer. When the fertilised ovum is about six days old it attaches itself to the wall of the uterus and the embryonic tissue then assumes a circular shape known as an embryonic disc. This implies that later in life this memory may be subconsciously recalled to produce a vision of a flying saucer. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung was very interested in flying saucers and equated their shape to mandalas, which he regarded as powerful religious and archetypal symbols. To Jung, mandalas represented unity and wholeness, or what he called individuation. This means that encounters with alien entities and circular lights in the sky could suggest a profound spiritual connection. Jung may have touched upon something of great significance because many abducted persons report a heightened awareness and a clearer spiritual perspective in the aftermath of an alien encounter. Other abductees, however, feel distressed and abused, which is why some researchers have interpreted the encounter as some form of initiation; a feature of initiation is to challenge and provoke a response in an attempt to 'kick-start' the recipient spiritually. If this view is correct then the encounter makes the recipient feel somehow born again; not in a superficial and religious fundamentalist sense, but in a much more enlightened and mystical way. Such a response would also tie in with idea that there is a connection between UFO sightings and prenatal memories. In other words, undergoing spiritual rebirth produces symbols relating to physical birth. The reports of encounters between humans and Otherworld entities recorded in many of the world's sacred writings support the view that behind it all there is some kind of spiritual connection.
Generally speaking, the human race has long tried to cut itself off from any awareness of spiritual matters, preferring to take the false view that the temporal world is the sum of all existence. Perhaps the aliens in their own way are seeking to open the eyes of humanity to a different reality. HP Lovecraft, the writer of strange fiction, took an entirely different view, however. Lovecraft, along with Charles Fort, believed that the aliens are dark gods and we are their property. Whether or not the aliens are angels or demons remains a matter of personal opinion. One thing we can be sure of: the human race is facing a grim future along with ecological disaster if we continue selfishly to exploit the planet for short-term gain. If humanity vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow, I suspect that the aliens would remain. They seem to have always had a stake in this world and no doubt will continue to do so.