Subject: IUFO: Jacques Vallee Discusses UFO Control System

Jacques Vallee Discusses UFO Control System

Jerome Clark, FATE Magazine, 1978



Summary: Noted scientist-UFO researcher proposes a startling theory about
what UFOs may be, how they behave and what we can do about them.
Interview by Jerome Clark.


Dr. Jacques Vallee, a French-American computer specialist with a
background in astrophysics, once served as consultant to NASA's Mars Map

Jacques Vallee is one of ufology's major figures - and also its most
original thinker.

Vallee, who holds a master's degree in astrophysics and a Ph.D. in
computer science from Northwestern University, was an early scientific
proponent of the theory that UFOs are extraterrestrial spaceships. His
first book, Anatomy of a Phenomenon (Henry Regnery, 1965), argued
eloquently that "through UFO activity ^ the contours of an amazingly
complex intelligent life beyond the earth can already be discerned." In
Challenge to Science - The UFO Enigma (Regnery, 1966) he and Janine
Vallee (who is a psychologist by training, with a master's degree from
the University of Paris) urged the scientific community to consider the
UFO evidence in this light.

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But by 1969, when he published Passport to Magonia (Regnery), Vallee's
assessment of the UFO phenomenon had undergone a significant shift. Much
to the consternation of the "scientific ufologists" who had seen him as
one of their champions, Vallee now seemed to be backing away from the
extraterrestrial hypotheses and advancing the radical view that UFOs are
paranormal in nature and a modern space age manifestation of a phenomenon
which assumes different guises in different historical contexts.

" When the underlying archetypes are extracted," he wrote, "the saucer
myth is seen to coincide to a remarkable degree with the fairy-faith of
Celtic countries ^ religious miracles^ and the widespread belief among
all peoples concerning entities whose physical and psychological
descriptions place them in the same category as the present-day

In The Invisible College (E.P. Dutton, 1975) Vallee posits the idea of a
"control system." UFOs and related phenomena are "the means through which
man's concepts are being rearranged." Their ultimate source may be
unknowable, at least at this stage of human development; what we do know,
according to Vallee, is that they are presenting us with continually
recurring "absurd" messages and appearances which defy rational analysis
but which nonetheless address human beings on the level of myth and

"When I speak of a control system for planet earth," he says, " I do not
want my words to be misunderstood: I do not mean that some higher order
of beings has locked us inside the constraints of a space-bound jail,
closely monitored by psychic entities we might call angels or demons. I
do not propose to redefine God. What I do mean is that mythology rules at
a level of our social reality over which normal political and
intellectual action has no power^."

Vallee is also coauthor, with J. Allen Hynek, of The Edge of Reality
(Regnery, 1975). A resident of the San Francisco area, he is completing a
book which further develops his theories concerning UFO phenomena.

We have talked together at some length about his beliefs. The following
interview is a report of these conversations:

Clark: Since the great autumn 1973 sighting wave public attitudes about
the UFO phenomenon seem to have changed dramatically, to the extent that
society may be entering a pivotal period in its perception of the
problem. What do you think will happen now?

Vallee: First, I expect increased government and scientific attention to
it. More researchers will be pursuing the physical evidence aspects,
conducting much more sophisticated investigations of traces left at
landing sites and so on. The people moving into the field now are good
physicists and good engineers who know what they are doing and who are
convinced it is time for them to get involved.

At the same time I expect that public opinion will change also. Initially
it probably will move strongly toward the extraterrestrial explanation.
Most people see only two ways to look at the problem - either it's all
nonsense or we're being visited from outer space. The current spate of
movies, books and magazine articles is going to push people toward the
extraterrestrial hypothesis. After that I expect a backlash effect may
push them in the other direction. I don't know where that's going to
leave scientists who want to do research.

Clark: You say that scientists are entering ufology in search of physical
evidence. But is there physical evidence? And if there is, are they going
to find it? What happens if they don't?

Vallee: If I were speaking for them I would say, "Jerry, it's premature
to ask those questions." One doesn't know the answers until one really
looks - and so far nobody has looked very seriously. So far the people
who have looked have been military types searching for enemy craft or
direct threats to national security. Or they've been superficial
investigators, dedicated civilians with good training but limited time
and limited resources.

But you're asking me what I think. I think there are physical data. They
are very, very interesting. They may contain a message. My inclination is
to look at the message both in a physical sense and in a symbolic sense,
but that's because I'm an information scientist and not a physical
scientist. I look for the meaning behind the object.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Recently Paul Cerny
investigated a case in northern California in which two older persons saw
a UFO take off. Afterwards they saw a sort of ring on the ground. Within
the ring they found some molten metal and a pile of sand.

Obviously here is physical evidence. Two tangible things - the molten
metal, which turned out to be brass, and the sand. I took some of the
latter to a geologist friend who knows about sand. He said it was highly
unusual because it did not contain quartz and it was not stream sand or
beach sand or residue from mining or anything else. It seemed to be
artificial sand created from grinding together stones of different

Well, to a physicist that may not mean too much. It's an indication of
something that turns out to be absurd. We can put it alongside other
cases of physical traces and then we may start looking for patterns which
might lead us to a better understanding of the modus operandi of
whoever's doing all this.

In that sense, yes, there is physical evidence. But if you mean physical
evidence in the sense that we're going to discover somebody's propulsion
system from it, I would have to say I don't expect that to happen.

Clark: Can we infer from the existence of physical evidence, then, that
there is a physical cause?

Vallee: If the UFO phenomenon had no physical cause at all, there would
be no way for us to perceive it because human beings are physical
entities. So it has to make an impression on our senses somehow. For that
to take place, it has to be physical at some time.

Clark: So in other words there is such a thing as a solid,
three-dimensional flying saucer.

Vallee: No, I didn't say that. That may or may not be true. I don't think
there is such a thing as the flying saucer phenomenon. I think it has
three components and we have to deal with them in different ways.

First, there is a physical object. That may be a flying saucer or it may
be a projection or it may be something entirely different. All we know
about it is that it represents a tremendous quantity of electromagnetic
energy in a small volume. I say that based upon the evidence gathered
from traces, from electromagnetic and radar detection and from
perturbations of the electromagnetic fields such as Dr. Claude Poher, the
French space scientist, has recorded.

Second, there's the phenomenon the witnesses perceive. What they tell us
is that they've seen a flying saucer. Now they may have seen that or they
may have seen an image of a flying saucer or they may have hallucinated
it under the influence of microwave radiation, or any of a number of
things may have happened. The fact is that the witnesses were exposed to
an event and as a result they experienced a highly complex alteration of
perception which caused them to describe the object or objects that
figure in their testimony.

Beyond there - the physical phenomenon and the perception phenomenon - we
have the third component, the social phenomenon. That's what happens when
the reports are submitted to society and enter the cultural arena. That's
the part which I find most interesting.