An expression we read sometimes in connection with a series of paranormal events or series of UFO-sightings as the Berkshire Sighting is that “the phenomenon is active”. Jacques Vallée used that expression. It is a very interesting and perhaps very accurate description of what is going on during episodes of UFO-events and other supernatural events like Berkshire Sighting.
There is a distinct concept about “zones” of the paranormal as the Bennington-Triangle, clusters where people go missing, dark forests with regular supernatural sightings, areas with light orbs like Hessdalen in Norway. The zones are–– often connected with the idea of portals or places where alternate dimensions overlap as Mount Shasta in California. It is a world that exists right here and which inspired The Forest Dark Feature Film Project.
The temporal perspective
A temporal concept is less familiar as the concept of places that are somehow disenfranchised from ordinary reality. However, we know about “waves” of sightings. It is however difficult to validate these “special times” when strange cases happen more often. If something happens it might trigger also false claims and the following reports might be inspired by the original sighting.
It is more interesting to look after events that happened during short time spans like a couple of days. This is what happened during the Berkshire Sightings. The beginning of the movie Close Encounters gives us a good impression of that type of episode. Sometimes many things happen in one night. And it’s really weird things – electronic fails, people see bigfoots and signs in the sky. There is all kind of supernatural phenomena.
The phenomenon is active – what does that mean?
The interesting thing is that if we use this expression it doesn’t mean a distinct thing like “visitors are now active”. It sounds a bit more like a mechanism or machinery. If we look at reports of a series of paranormal activity we might think somebody turned on a projector that generates holographic images among other phenomena. We know from the stories for example from the Bridgewater triangle there is often a mix of reported phenomena including orbs, creatures, Ufos, or poltergeists.
Researchers may hope that they could identify some sort of regularity but that is not how the phenomenon works. Places might not change, but most of the temporal events are not repeating itself in a kind of rhythm. However, there seem to be certain years when there is a heightened activity in these “hotbeds of paranormal activity” like the Bridgewater triangle. The first “Ufo-Encounter” happened there in 1760 followed by sightings in 1908, then in 1968 and the 1970s. There is no indication here that there is any kind of rhythm. It is more like time has a special-quality at certain moments.
The temporal perspective in the description of events might not offer explanations but it is a way to get a better understanding of the nature of the phenomenon. We see that there are two brackets here: Supernatural events happen within a certain area and within a certain time frame. The interesting thing is that inside this “bubble” of a changed-reality we have these reports which sound more like a wild mix of imagination: Bigfoot, orbs, winged creature, unnamed black helicopters but also strange visitors in a restaurant as in the Happy Camp events described by Jacques Vallée in his book Confrontations.
In some sense, this makes the stories more credible. It tells us that people experienced something which is beyond their understanding. We can only understand what we see. Perhaps we try to find something we know already, i.e. demons, aliens, or fairies to give it a name. It makes it easier to cope with these types of experiences. Often, the “more reasonable stories” are much more susceptible.
The cultural influence
There is a cultural influence on how we interpret these types of supernatural events. The celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg is a historical precursor of Ufo-sighting-series like in Berkshire. A broadsheet article from 1561 with the illustration and text by Hans Glaser shows balls and geometrical objects invading the skies. Modern enthusiasts interpreted this as an “ aerial battle of Ufos”. Witnesses observed hundreds of spheres, odd-shaped objects, and a black triangular object. As in the Fatima event, people saw the sun falling down. Of course, the event was interpreted as a sign sent from God. The Nuremberg event was followed by another celestial phenomenon over Basel 1566 and a series of events between 27-28 July and 7 August 1566. Again there was a battle in the sky mentioned. Knights were seen fighting in the sky. Historians emphasized that these were unruly times. It wasn’t so long before the apocalyptic Thirty Years War. There was also the plague. The medieval social system did fell apart. Climate change, the so-called Little Ice Age, made people suffer. It was a time of the collapse. In some ways, the phenomenon represented what people must have felt during these unruly times. This is not so to say that the events weren’t real but experiences are shaped by cultural context.
It is sometimes mentioned that these supernatural events work like a sort of control-system guiding mankind from its beginning. It is true that unexplained phenomena can change our belief-system. Whitley Strieber once concluded, “that the human species is being shepherded to a higher level of understanding and existence within an endless multiverse”. These conclusions make sense however it’s not much different as the late-medieval interpretation where the wonders in the sky were acts of God. We assume that the intelligence behind these phenomena (if there is an intelligence) is not so much different as we are. We don’t know that. What we know there is a reality out there, indeed the weirdest stories are real in some sense. There is an “active phenomenon”, however, we can’t see the phenomenon itself as what it is. We have to follow its traces. The phenomenon is there but it is not active at any time. As forces of nature, it is unpredictable. If we visit zones imbued with the supernatural, the energy of the phenomenon we can’t expect what will happen. The phenomenon disguises itself behind many masks.