and the Great Old Ones
of the Q:. Continuum
1995 by Godfrey Daniels
"These Great Old Ones ... were not
composed altogether of flesh and
blood. They had shape ... but that
shape was not made of matter. When
the stars were right, They could
plunge from world to world through
the sky .... When, after infinities
of chaos, the first men came, the
Great Old Ones spoke to the sensitive
among them by molding their dreams;
for only thus could Their language
reach the fleshy minds of mammals."
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
"And they taught them charms and enchantments ... and they bear
great giants, whose height was three thousand ells, who consumed all
the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them,
the giants turned against them, and devoured mankind."
-Book of Enoch, VII.1-4
Spacecraft or Lovecraft? -- The Puzzling Nature of UFOs
A number of years ago while reading the apocryphal Book of Enoch, I
came to a passage dealing with an evil angel called Semjaza. The
name seemed familiar, and soon I remembered where I'd seen it before
-- in a book by an alleged UFO contactee [Billy Meier], who
identified "Semjase" as the name of one of the extraterrestrials he
claimed had visited him from the Pleiades. After that I began
noticing other similarities between UFO stories and other kinds of
stories, similarities too precise to be coincidental. Especially
interesting were the correspondences between UFOs and angels.
Alleged contactee George Hunt Williamson even included in his books
examples of "extraterrestrial" vocabulary words -- words that,
interestingly, turned out to be nearly identical to words from the
so-called Enochian, or angelic, language used by occultists from
John Dee to Aleister Crowley.
At the moment the world is in the throes of an (as yet!) unrequited
love affair with both angels and UFOs. Our attitude toward UFOs
mirrors that of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which
portrayed and encouraged the widespread belief in the existence of
angelic extraterrestrial visitors and the assumption that if beings
are technologically advanced, they must also be benevolent. The
history of our own planet demonstrates the flaw in that conclusion:
the twentieth century, the most technologically advanced period in
human history, has also been history's bloodiest, with at least 170
million people murdered by various governments -- and that figure
doesn't even include the 39 million war dead. In spite of the
evidence to the contrary, however, great numbers of people continue
to equate intelligence with goodness, and those who believe in
extraterrestrial intelligence prefer to put their faith in kindly
technological "visitors" -- angels not from heaven but from deep
Might these visitors really exist? It's hard to say, partly because
the study of UFOs has been so plagued by hoaxes, looniness, and
misinterpretations of completely natural occurrences (such as
meteorological phenomena, sleep paralysis, and the like).
Nevertheless, the phenomenon of otherworldly contact has been so
widely spread over time and place that it would not be unreasonable
to believe that something is going on, something so consistent in
its manifestations as to suggest the work of unknown intelligences.
Could they really be from outer space? Unlikely -- that is, if our
current understanding of physics bears any relation to the nature of
reality. The great distances from us to even our nearest neighboring
galaxies make it highly improbable that any inhabitants -- at least,
any physical inhabitants -- no matter how technologically adept,
could ever reach us alive. But if the visitors aren't space aliens,
then who -- or what -- are they?
One of the most intriguing answers to that question has been
suggested by Jacques Vallee, the real-life model for the character
of the French scientist in Close Encounters, and author of many
books on the UFO phenomenon, such as Dimensions and Messengers of
Deception. Vallee does not share Steven Spielberg's trusting view of
the visitors, whom he believes are probably not visitors at all.
Vallee has made a history-spanning study of stories of supernatural
contact -- Greco-Roman tales of sky chariots, Celtic stories of
elves and fairies abducting children and mutilating animals, Joseph
Smith's alleged heavenly visions, even apparitions of the Virgin
Mary -- and found that such experiences closely parallel the
experiences of UFO contactees. It seems that the phenomenon
currently known as the contactee experience is almost coeval with
human existence, under many different guises.
"UFOs have been seen
throughout history and have consistently received (or provided)
their own explanation within the framework of each culture," Vallee
These visitors, if they really exist, are obviously quite
willing to conform to whatever mythology or beliefs they find;
becoming whatever we want them to be and telling us whatever we want
to hear. Modern mythology having shifted from the magical to the
scientific, it's only logical that such beings would pose as
scientifically advanced beings from space.
But what might be the purpose of this milleniums-long masquerade?
Whatever the visitors are or might be, the important question is, do
they mean us ill or good? Not even the contactees themselves know.
Whitley Streiber, alleged UFO abductee and author of several books
on the subject, has even questioned the wisdom of writing about it:
"What if they were dangerous? Than I was terribly dangerous because
I was playing a role in acclimatizing people to them."
willingness to pretend to be whatever they think we want them to be
and their increasingly enlarged capacity for calculated
manipulation, how likely is it that the visitors' intentions towards
us are benign?
Anyone familiar with the tales of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
can easily imagine, instead of friendly alien visitors, something
more along the lines of the terrible pre-human inhabitants of earth
whom Lovecraft called the Great Old Ones.
"All my stories," Lovecraft wrote, "are based on the fundamental
lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another
race who, in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were
expelled, yet live on outside ever ready to take possession of this
Lovecraft's Great Old Ones and Elder Gods are
reminiscent of the Book of Enoch's evil angels -- and the UFO
visitors. Some of the contactees themselves have associated the
visitors with the gods of ancient mythology. When the visitors told
Streiber they were "very old," he found himself wondering, "Who were
the old gods, really?" If the visitors are gods, they certainly
conform to the ancient Greek conception of divinity: "Whom the gods
would destroy, they first drive mad." Their dealings with Streiber
nearly caused him to lose his mind.
"I thought...my years of eager
study of everything from Zen to quantum physics had led me into some
strange and tragic byway of the soul," he later wrote.
Streiber's attempt to understand the visitors in spiritual, rather
than scientific, terms is not as strange as it may sound. Vallee,
too, believes the UFO phenomenon is not primarily a scientific
matter. "We are dealing here with the next form of religion, with a
new spiritual movement," says Vallee. He draws a suggestive parallel
between our culture, which looks to science for the answers to our
questions, and the society upon which our culture is largely based,
that of the ancient Greeks:
"At the end of antiquity, people were fed up with science. The
Greeks knew the Earth was a globe. They knew how big it was, and how
far it was from the Sun, and they knew the diameter of the Moon.
They could compute the dates of future eclipses. They even
understood the atomic structure of matter. But they couldn't tell
people what the human race was doing here, and where it would go
next. So their science was swept away and forgotten. Will the same
thing happen to our science?"
The danger of which Vallee warns -- that people may rush into the
spiritual void left by science -- remains the same even if the
visitors are not real: "The group of people who will first manage to
harness the fear of cosmic forces and the emotions surrounding UFO
contact to a political purpose will be able to exert incredible
spiritual blackmail." If, however, the visitors are real, then it
makes no difference whether they are almond-eyed aliens or tentacled
Lovecraftian monsters; as Vallee says, "In terms of the effect on
us, it doesn't matter where they come from."
That we cannot say for certain whether or not the visitors even
exist -- let alone who they might be and what they might want with
us -- shows how little we really know, scientifically or otherwise,
about our tiny speck of the universe. Vallee has some sound advice
for those who would look to unknown intelligences for some form of
"Shouldn't we know something more about the helpful
stranger before we jump on board?"
For who knows but that those who
look for salvation from beings with unknown purposes might help
bring about some version of the nightmare future envisioned by H.P.
"Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild
and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all
men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old
Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy
themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of
ecstasy and freedom."