A paranormal Season of Light
If one pays close attention, certain data points strongly suggest paranormal activity is—if not one monolithic phenomenon—at least closely related phenomena. Ignoring these connections is the height of intellectual dishonesty, and while Forteana is no stranger to that pernicious character flaw, we should never hesitate to admit the shortcomings of the field’s most widely held theories. Ghosts may not be the spirits of the dead. UFOs may not be extraterrestrials. Bigfoot may not be an undiscovered primate.
Because…. There is plenty of evidence illustrating the interconnectedness of phenomena that, at first blush, seem wholly unrelated. The deeper down the rabbit hole one dives, however, the more the similarities draw attention to themselves. Changelings, short entities supervised by taller figures, crop circles, missing time—these all sit firmly at the center of a Venn diagram comparing attributes of today’s “alien” abduction phenomenon and the fae folk of folklore. Bringing in Bigfoot to round out the trifecta, we note other similarities: the food taboo, sulfurous smells, elaborate taxonomies, purported underground habitats, an obsession with human reproduction, livestock mutilation, and eyewitness paralysis. All attributes have been ascribed to these disparate entities.
… as well as orbs of light. While obviously evident in UFO activity—half the damn things are lights in the sky, after all—they are also a staple of ghost activity, well-known to anyone who has paid a modicum of attention to paranormal research. Dig into the literature, and you find similar illumination in faerie encounters, often referred to as faerie lights. You can lump in modern “ghost lights” as well—the Brown Mountain/Lubbock/Hessdalen/etc. etc. lights seem part and parcel with the phenomena as a whole.
As my good, wise friend and Where Did the Road Go? host Seriah Azkath is fond of saying, “You see an orb of light in the sky, it’s a UFO. You see an orb light in your house, it’s a ghost.”
Let’s throw a monkey wrench (Gigantopithecus wrenchus?) into the mix. After years of endeavoring to validate the material existence of Sasquatch and, to a large extent, failing, the Bigfoot community is finally opening up about the presence of anomalous lights in areas traditionally known to yield heavy Sasquatch sightings. It’s a thing. If you want your paradigm shattered, listen to Adam Davies’ Binnall of America interview. It’s harrowing.
(SIDE NOTE: the cryptozoology crew, love them though I do, will be the last folks to acquiesce that consciousness plays a role in Bigfoot/Nessie/Dogman/etc. etc. encounters. Mark my word on that.)
The persistence of these tales of light orbs makes me wonder... Is there some larger lesson we can take from such shared associations? I pondered this question in a recent (as of this writing, unreleased) Where Did the Road Go? interview. Bear with me here. To distill this line of thought to a simple concept, I wonder: Do all paranormal phenomena, deprived of context, present themselves as orbs of light? Is there some sort of contextual dependency (akin to Greg Bishop’s notion of co-creation) that allows The Phenomenon to be seen as aliens, faeries, Bigfoot, ghosts, etc. but—deprived of context—is seen in its “purest form” as an orb of light?
In her recent interview with Seriah Azkath, Ardy Sixkiller Clark—whose research is top-notch, but whose rigid extraterrestrial hypothesis view I criticize heavily—discussed the nature of orbs as related to her by North American indigenous peoples:
“One of my interviewees told me about… these balls of light that could transform themselves into anything they wanted to be, whether it was human, or whether they revealed themselves… in their true characteristics, or they could be an inanimate object, and nobody would even know about it....”
Welp. If we strip the narrow-minded ETH narrative from that statement and replace it with an unknowable, nigh-Lovecraftian Unknown Phenomena, it answers (albeit in a dissatisfying way) why so many paranormal phenomena share common attributes.
Consider also—non-coincidentally, I would comment—that the pineal gland, traditionally held as the “seat of the soul” and recently proven to be a source of endogenous DMT—is affected by light. The pineal gland, after all, looks quite a bit like a vestigial eye, and bears a startling resemblance, viewed in cross section, to that most important symbol in Egyptian iconography: the Eye of Ra/Horus.
To further illustrate my concept, and provide a modern-day analogue, consider “texture glitches” in modern video gaming. A simple online search reveals scores of dissatisfied gamers who have taken note of missing textures in games. Put plainly, games require texture files (often repeating patterns—imagine the way you would graphically represent a 5’x5’ swath of brick wall or cobblestone street) to accurately build the game's world. When these texture files are missing or corrupted, the affected surface—be it a wall or a street—will appear completely blank. Depending on the developer, this usually renders that particular surface a single, uniform color, usually stark white or pink.
Extrapolating this to paranormal phenomena, perhaps we are responsible for providing the "texture." Whatever this Other is asks us to contribute, and is perhaps context based—in an abandoned house, we’ll see a ghost, the sky a UFO, a forest a Bigfoot or—for those of us with Celtic background—faeries. If we fail to provide this template, this “texture,” we simply see an empty placeholder, especially when deprived of context at a distance.
I may be right. I may be wrong. But at the end of the day, I hope to never hesitate when admitting the shortcomings of my theories.