During high school, and some time after I had sifted through those seeming past life memories, I had gone to the mall. Whether I was with my friends or parents at the time I do not recall, but I had wandered into a bookstore and did my usual browsing of the paranormal section. That is where I picked up a book I had neither read nor heard of before, a book by Scott Mandelker entitled, From Elsewhere: Being E.T. in America.
By that time I had developed a particular distaste for the more hokey or cheesy literature on the subjects of UFOs and paranormal, as exposure of the subject in such a manner only served the agenda of those who would prefer to cast out the baby with the bath water of new age nonsense it was left to marinate in. Despite this, I picked it up and brushed through the pages randomly once or twice, reading a random passage. Perhaps the first I read made adrenaline flood my system, as the particular account described a planet with the same desert setting I had seen in my memories. In fear, I shut the book, put it back on the shelf and avoided it like the plague if I ever came across it somewhere else. To this day I have yet to read it, as a matter of fact, and considering the amount it goes for online, it may be some time until I do.
On those pages are there recollections akin to my own, or does this serve as merely another example of false hope in finding someone with whom I can truly identify at this level? Would any story inside that book truly resonate with my memories of that world?
My sense has always been that the planet looked like Saturn, most likely because this planet was of a tan color and had similar rings. Most of the surface of the planet seemed to be a desert, a vast wasteland of sand, rock formations and the occasional isolated, creepy, leafless tree. Here and there it was pockmarked by lush oases that were basically small, isolated jungles of phosphorescent vegetation. There were also sparse signs of civilization on the surface as well, various structures such as buildings and the terrible “death machines” that prowled the sands, though what these machines were or did that made them so threatening I cannot recall.
Most of the civilization lived underground, however, in subterranean cities and tunnels. One reason may have been the constant threats from the sky. In my playtime as a kid, a constant worry of the duo as they ventured across their desert world were the rocks that occasionally fell from the sky. That was not their only threat, either. In one memory in the desert area, I remember hiding and looking from a short distance at a sedimentary rock formation of some kind. I watched some small creature scurry across the ground and another creature, appearing seemingly out of nowhere, attacking it. I cannot recall what the prey looked like. The predator had the body of a fuzzball with long, spider-like legs, and it was quick and precise. I watched as in one swift movement it pounced on and wrapped its legs around its prey. I also recall a strange memory of an elephant-and-anteater like creature with a long, flexible, narrow trunk and an otherwise bloated or pudgy appearance. The one I saw was presumably dead, however, so perhaps that has some bearing on the seeming “rolls of fat” appearance of the creature’s skin.
So perhaps it could be that the civilization had to relocate underground when their planet began being pelted by meteorites and asteroids and the Daddy Long-Leg psycho-pompoms and anteater-elephant creatures roamed free on the surface. Perhaps the “death machines” were tanks of some kind, keeping people off the surface, or warring against some other faction. All of that could potentially make sense, but other things seem inconsistent or too coincidental to be true. despite my impression that the planet had rings akin to Saturn, I never recall seeing those rings in the sky, which one would think should stand out. conveniently it would appear, judging from the memories, that I could see just as I do with my present eyes, though it did seem both broader and crystal clear, and surprisingly so even during my memories in the darkness. Nonetheless, how likely is it that an extraterrestrial civilization would have eyes that express vision to consciousness in the way and within the range with which we, as humans, are familiar? Does convergent evolution extend throughout the cosmos?
Speaking of convergence: do my memories of this dead world converge with the memories of anyone else, then, for whatever reason? Seemingly so. The theme of a desert locale and associations with it being the home of the Grays has surfaced in material by Whitley Strieber, David Jacobs, Karla Turner and others. In his book, The Threat, David Jacobs remarks that “[m]any abductees have reported being in desert-like terrain. Although the meaning of these settings is unclear, there are indications that such terrain may be a home environment for the aliens.” He then provides portions of the transcripts from the hypnosis session of “Susan Steiner” (pages 51-52), who seems to be describing another planet:
“The sky is like reddish. There’s like cloud formations that are sort of hanging in the air very low, like very, they’re not like cumulus clouds. They’re more feathery type clouds. And they’re like all different colors. Like multicolored and they’re hanging in the air, almost like cotton candy or angel’s hair. It looks sort of like angel’s hair hanging there in the air. It’s just like all over the place. There’s like three, looks like there’s three suns in the sky. One of them has like little, like smaller things sort of like … I don’t know what you would call them but like rotating around one of the suns. The other two don’t have that, the other two are just plain. We start walking out into this […] hard sand. It’s not like beach sand, it’s like harder than that.”
There is again a mention of a desert world in Karla Turner’s book Taken, where she speaks of an abductee she calls Angie:
“In February 1989, she had another abduction in which she was called a ‘Chosen One’ and was also shown a scene familiar from other abductee reports. One of the aliens touched her forehead, she said, and ‘a series of graphic images exploded’ in her mind. She saw ‘a reddish-gold desert planet with two setting suns,’ a ‘galaxy,’ a ‘blood-red moon and a fiery orange sun exploding,’ and an ‘underground city’ before she blacked out. When she regained consciousness, an alien told her their home was ‘Cassiopeia in the heavens’ but that they had made a home for themselves on Earth before humans were created. After this, Angie passed out again and was returned home.”
In his book Confirmation, Whitley Strieber provides snippets from the letters many have sent to him describing their own bizarre experiences. On page 149, he cites an experience that sounds somewhat familiar:
“I was standing in the middle of a red plain. The ground beneath my feet was dust… like what I imagine moon dust would be like. There were no rocks, no chunks of anything. I appeared to be in the middle of a street. There were large, tan buildings running up and down this street, in all sort of strange configurations. They were not elaborate at all — just very angular. On the whole, they looked like Spanish missions, if those missions had been designed by Salvador Dali. They were made of some crenulated metallic material that on first glance looked like adobe. The sky above my head was white. Not bright white or cloudy white — it was more like the sky glowed, like it had some innate property of light. On the street were dozens of ‘gray’ creatures. They appeared to be gliding back and fourth up and down the street. They gave off this feeling that I was sort of distasteful to them. I felt big and dirty and ugly.”
As I browsed through Albert Rosales compilation of humanoid sighting reports for 1989 on unfoino.com, I came across an interesting case that occurred in Mezhriybaza, Uzbekistan. On the fitting night of October 31, UFOFORUM in Russia reported that:
“A local bookkeeper, X. Saidov, spotted a large dazzling object descending towards the ground. After the object landed, a tall robot-like being wearing a silvery suit emerged from the object. Terrified, Saidov is unable to move and apparently loses consciousness. Waking up later, he finds himself in a desert like location standing among the sands. He could see hills and pyramids around him. He sees a man and woman exit one of the pyramids, but he remained paralyzed and felt the ground under him become soft. He soon lost consciousness again. Later he found himself standing next to his car close to the village.”
In her first book, Into the Fringe (pages 102-103) Karla Turner provides another reference to a desert world as she describes speaking with her son, David, who had experienced an apparent recollection of two scenes super-imposed over one another. One of these images depicted a sandstorm on a world that was entirely desert, and the sky seemed hardly distinguishable, for “the only way I could tell the sky from the ground was that the sky was a lighter shade of tan.” The second image depicted “an outside area at night, pitch-black. But I could see something in front of me. It looked like a fifteen-foot-tall tree trunk or irregular column, and it was covered with thick, dark brown fur” and that though he “could see some sort of appendage near the top of the column”, he was clueless as to its nature.
As Karla Turner noted in that same book, this experience bears an uncanny resemblance to an incident described in chapter 26 of Whitley Strieber’s 1989 novel, Majestic, which is a fictional account based on the Roswell story. In the novel, Nick Duke, a Baltimore reporter, investigates a lead given to him by Wilfred Stone, an ex-director of the CIA. In the chapter in question, the character of Wilfred Stone describes what to him was a strange and confusing experience in which he seemed to have found himself on a planet which appeared like Saturn in which he was “standing in a desert. It was strewn with sharp black boulders that shone dully in the weak light.” He described “the grit underfoot” and how “the air was crackling dry and the sky was brown.” He felt as if he were some unthinking animal as he ran across the world. He described two suns, one that was just setting as the scene began, leaving him in darkness, and the other, red sun rising in the midst of his encounter with what appeared to be a gigantic mantis. It was the furry tree trunk description that resonated with David’s mental image, and David seemed to be describing the insect’s legs.
The description of the planet looking like Saturn echoes my feelings; after all, my memories of a desert world is what inspired me to get that mural of Saturn on my wall when I was in junior high. The large insect theme at least resonates with my recollections to some degree. Yet is this all just coincidence?
If so, it would appear to extend beyond anecdotal reports from others considering the recently discovery concerning what are known as “land planets.”
The habitable or “Goldilocks” zone is the area around a given star that will neither be too hot nor too cold for a planet’s surface to potentially hold liquid water and therefore perhaps some form of extraterrestrial life. The habitable zone is dependent not just on the stage of the star but also on the type of planet. Aqua planets such as our earth have more surface water than land, suffering a rampant greenhouse effect if they orbit too close and going ice-9 if their orbit strays too far. Land planets are essentially the polar opposite of aqua planets, as they are composed of vast desert landscapes pot-marked here and there with oases, but void of any semblance of an ocean. One would assume that life would be primarily subterranean, as there may be relatively abundant water beneath the surface, and perhaps otherwise isolated to the oases forming from the springs that bleed through the desert skin.
Additional differences between aqua and land planets were presented in the 2011 paper “Habitable Zone Limits for Dry Planets,” written by Yutaka Abe, Ayako Abe-Ouchi, Norman H. Sleep, and Kevin J. Zahnle and published in the magazine Astrobiology. Their research suggests that if a land planet and an aqua planet orbited the same star, the habitable zone for the land planet would be roughly three times larger, enabling it to be both closer and farther away from the star and still sustain life. This would mean that life-bearing planets such as our own might be relatively rare, with land planets in all likelihood standing as the more common celestial nest for budding life in the cosmos.
Of course, this notion of land planets or desert worlds being fertile for life all really constitutes an educated guess in the end, albeit one heavy on the education. In any case, its interesting, and in no fashion do I for a moment think this means the entire alien landscape in my memory is indeed an accurate depiction of past events I was privy to in one form or another and not some unconsciously-generated fantasy I became emotionally ensnared in.
Still, it could all make sense as a fantasy. In my own case, perhaps the alter takes the form of an alien in response to constantly having to face and fight with my deeply-rooted feeling that I somehow simply did not belong anywhere. Perhaps this sense of “alienation” is also why while alone as a child I played with my hands and pretended they were two aliens meandering about their planet’s surface. Perhaps the alien personality took root in the rich history of the dead alien desert world that served as a backdrop to my private childhood playtime. Perhaps the personality sincerely believes that history is true, that this history is its own. Perhaps the purpose it serves is to give me an explanation for my sense of isolation. It has relevance, I feel, that this explanation has been regarded with tremendous fear and horror for me since I was sixteen (and if the memories are not false memories, as far back as six). If the purpose of the alter was to offer explanations that would produce psychological comfort, it undoubtedly failed.
There is no doubt that Saturn, named after the Roman god of agriculture, has a good deal of cultural associations that would make it an optimal choice for my unconscious in the creation of spontaneous fantasies. Saturn is thought to be characterized by coldness, dryness, time, constriction, law, karma, fate, judgment, structure and death. It is also associated with the father, specifically the darker issues associated with him if he is not outright tyrannical, and the Goblin Man, if not a true alien but rather a symbol, would very likely be a manifestation for (clearly unconscious) darker issues with my actual father. In any case, the symbolic usage here as a whole would seem to bear a tight cohesion in terms of meaning if one is to regard it as hallucinatory.
The issue remains, however: as a fantasy, it does not seem altogether appealing to my inner eye, as I have a general distaste for the kind of laziness that goes on in popular fiction writing. To offer a relevant example, there is the tendency for sci-fi writers to fashion entire planets composed of one specific appearance and season in contrast to, for instance, our own planet which is composed of deserts, tropics, the arctic tundra, and all varying types of environment. On occasion they show signs of differing weather patterns, but not so much in terms of seasons or varying types of climate. We imagine Yoda living in a swamp-world, we imagine waterworlds and, often enough, desert worlds. Tatooine of Star Wars, known to my young self quite well, and Arrakis of Frank Herbert’s Dune series, which I have never read, though a friend gave me the book some years ago and it still rests amongst the others on my shelves. Nor have I ever seen the movie, in my recollection. There are quite a few movies using desert worlds, in fact, and I intended to watch some of them to see if they contained elements from my memories. The idea, of course, was to come across a movie that depicted the scenes I so vividly recalled and prove to myself that I wasn’t even original in my pseudo-delusions. To the small degree in which I have actualized this intention, I have found nothing in comparison to my memories. So do my notions of a desert world not just constitute an active, unconsciously-generated fantasy, but one borne of a significant lack of creativity?