Are UFOs a Spiritual Phenomenon?

By L. Alfred James

In a previous post, we saw that it is physically impossible for aliens—even if they live in the nearest inhabitable star system—to travel the distances needed to visit earth. At realistic speeds, it would take hundreds, thousands, or millions of years to make such a trip. The required speed for any spacecraft making this voyage would entail a continual collision with space debris equal to several nuclear bombs inflicting damage every single second of the very long trip. Most damningly, it would also entail an endless stream of radiation that would destroy any physical craft and any creatures inside.

But if these UFOs are not spacecraft from other galaxies, what are they? In the 1960s, the United States government was asking the very same question. To try to understand this phenomenon better, they recruited Lynn Catoe, a librarian at the United States Library of Congress.

In 1969 she compiled and summarized an enormous amount of literature on UFOs, including eyewitness testimonies from pilots, military personnel, and UFO researchers. Her bibliography was eventually published and is still in print today.

Summarizing her findings, she said:

Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demonic possession and psychic phenomena which have long been known to theologians and parapsychologists. Therefore, references to these subjects have been included as well as references to occult works which have similarities to the general tone and content of the UFO literature.1

Don’t miss this. Here is a publication from the American government that says UFO phenomena are “strikingly similar to demoniac possession and psychic phenomena.” That is, UFOs are an occult phenomenon. They are not natural; they are spiritual in nature. That means they are the product of spiritual agents intent on deception and evil.

That was Lynn Catoe’s description. There are several reasons for thinking that she’s right.

UFOs Behave In Weird Ways

Reports of sightings frequently describe UFOs doing things that are physically impossible. They change shape, split into several separate ships, vanish instantly, fly at fantastic speeds, and (at such speeds) change direction instantly. If these were physical spacecraft, the maneuvers they perform would produce g-forces that would kill any occupants.

One of the most objective and respected UFO researchers in the world is the astronomer Jacques Vallee. He thinks this behavior indicates that UFOs are not physical objects:

If UFOs are, indeed, somebody else’s “nuts and bolts hardware,” then we must still explain how such tangible hardware can change shape before our eyes, vanish in a Cheshire cat manner (not even leaving a grin), seemingly melt away in front of us, or apparently “materialize” mysteriously before us without apparent detection by persons nearby or in neighboring towns. We must wonder too, where UFOs are “hiding” when not manifesting themselves to human eyes.2

UFOs Follow Trends in Fiction

There is a very suggestive pattern in the historical record regarding UFOs. They always appear like vehicles that are popular in science fiction. For instance, in the late 1800s there were many engineers trying to build a dirigible. But no one had quite managed it. Likewise, the science fiction literature produced by writers like Jules Verne popularized the idea through mass market books:

The first modern wave of documented UFO sightings occurred in what became known as the “airship waves” of 1886 and 1887 in the United States. Despite the description, the sightings occurred several years before any documented flights of airplanes or powered craft of any kind in the United States. At that time, the term “airship” was probably used to describe any sort of flying vehicle… It is intriguing to note that the manifestations came in a shortly-to-be-realized technological format. Toward the end of 1887, hints of “airship” activity were also reported in other countries around the world, although it was known that some European countries had motor-powered balloons by that time.3

By the same token, ancient Greek and Romans reported seeing flying shields. Native Americans reported sightings of flying canoes. And modern westerners see flying saucers and spaceships. Vallee echoes this line of thinking: “In previous works I have pointed out that aerial phenomena very similar to our UFOs had been reported in the ninth century in the form of vessels in the sky, as airships in the days of Jules Verne, as ghost rockets in 1946, and as spacecraft in more recent times, as if they mimicked human expectations.”4 Isn’t it odd that UFOs mimic human expectations?

UFOs Follow Regional Beliefs

There is also a very suggestive pattern in the geography of UFO sightings, particularly if an alien abduction is involved. Susan Clancy, an alien abduction researcher and a cognitive psychologist, makes this observation:

If I’ve focused on the United States in this book, it’s because the abduction scenario hardly exists cross-culturally. People in Brazil or Kenya or Vietnam may see weird things in the sky, but rarely anything that comes down and kidnaps them for medical or sexual purposes. John Mack himself noted that UFO abduction reports are more frequent in “Western countries or countries dominated by Western cultural values.” This could change, though, as movies and TV shows like The X-Files get exported more widely.5

As alien stories become more widespread in a particular region, people in that region begin seeing them a whole lot more. This fact, combined with the way that UFOs typically approximate craft that are popular in science fiction, strongly suggests that UFOs are the product of some kind of intelligent agency trying to fool human beings.6

Thus, the way that UFOs appear (and their frequency) is hugely dependent on the beliefs that are present in a particular time and place. And they do things that are physically impossible. When you also consider the fact that alien “communications” (whether through abductions or other mediums) seem infatuated with telling people that they shouldn’t believe in Jesus Christ6, the case for their being an occult phenomenon becomes extremely strong.

J. Allen Hynek, the founder of the Center for UFO Studies reluctantly admitted this. During an interview (for the April 3, 1978 edition of Today’s Student) Hynek said, “Certainly the phenomenon has psychic aspects. I don’t talk about them very much because to a general audience the words ‘psychic’ and ‘occult’ have bad overtones.”

Regardless of how it sounds, the occult explanation is by far the best explanation for UFOs.

1. Lynn E. Catoe, UFOs and Related Subjects: An Annotated Bibliography Prepared by the Library of Congress Science and Technology Division for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Office of Aerospace Research, USAF Arlington, Virginia 22209
2. J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallée, The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (Chicago, IL: Regnery, 1975), xii-xiii.
3. Bates, Gary. Alien Intrusion (pp. 175-176). Creation Book Publishers. Kindle Edition.
4. Vallee, Jacques. Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception (Alien Contact Trilogy Book 3). Anomalist Books. Kindle Edition.
5. Susan Clancy, Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 103.
6. See the animated historical map of UFO sightings at
7. See

Subscribe Now!