The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

No Matter How You Slice It, It Comes Up Peanuts

They either come from here or they come from elsewhere.

Most people favor the latter view. Lately I’ve been riffing on the former. But both the cryptoterrestrial hypotheses and the extraterrestrial hypothesis have major problems—gaps in logic, on the one hand, and data on the other.

The big argument against the ETH as I see it is that, however advanced the technology we are dealing with, there is something way too “close to home” about certain aspects of the UFO phenomenon. Some UFOs are evidently piloted. Why would an advanced ET civilization need or want to personally travel here in house-sized ships? Why would they need to physically occupy bases or outposts here? Why would their ships crash (if the Roswell incident is to be believed)? If they are here for observation, they could monitor us with stealthy, even microscopic automated probes, not big, highly visible, brightly lit vessels. And the notion that they come visit as tourists or are posted here as soldiers or scientists just seems far-fetched, because it is too near-fetched. There’s just something naggingly un-cosmic about the picture of alien intelligences buzzing around our planet like gnats. Don’t they have more important things to do?

If they are instead cryptohominids, relatives of us who moved underground a few hundred thousand years ago—who knows, perhaps due to climatic change on the surface (i.e., ice age)—it would suddenly make sense of certain aspects of the UFO and abduction phenomenon. The longstanding, theatrical nature of our interactions with them, along with the assumption throughout world folklore that such “others” lived underground, suddenly fits. So does the rather human-like fallibility (again, if Roswell is to be believed) and their particular concern with our military installations. Their visibility makes perfect sense if they coexist with us, perhaps in significant numbers, on an increasingly crowded planet.

But the huge problem with the CTH is evidential: There’s zero physical evidence to back up the cryptos’ backstory. First, there’s no paleontology. As a commenter to an earlier post puts it: “Got fossils?” Now, I don’t think this is necessarily damning. It is at least conceivable that fossil remains of unknown nonhuman bipedal hominids have gone misidentified as products of normal human variation since they never fit into any existing paradigm. Witness the recent discovery of “hobbits” in Indonesia. Paleontologists might readily identify the skeleton of a “gray” as just a small human or child and not as an actual other species. The same question hovers over the curiously gray-like “Boskop” skulls found in South Africa early in the last century. Their big crania and childlike facial features were finally declared to be within the normal human range of variation, but I’m sure there are still many who would disagree with that interpretation.

The much more difficult question, I think, is “Got cars?” A technological civilization will leave lots of cool shit behind, and so far as anyone knows, no advanced technology preceding our own has ever been found. We have a pretty straightforward record of linear technological advancement beginning with Australopithecus. Nowhere (unless it has been kept way secret by some archaeological arm of the CIA or NSA) is there evidence of an older lithic technology succeeded by a bronze or iron age or industrial revolution unfolding in advance of our own. If aliens are a separate technological species, they dismantled their cities and took evidence of their social and technological evolution underground with them. And while there are supposedly ancient Indian texts describing flying machines, and at least one genuinely intriguing artifact from a 200 BC tomb in Egypt that looks like a model of a glider plane, the evidence is sparse at best for any kind of breakaway technological human civilization.

As Jacques Vallee has noted, there’s no way you can parse the data and have it make sense. No matter how you slice it, some part of the UFO phenomenon remains absurd.


I am a science writer and armchair Fortean based in Washington, DC. Write to me at eric.wargo [at]

One Response to “No Matter How You Slice It, It Comes Up Peanuts”

  • I appreciate your blog – keep up the great work!
    Like most, I favor the ETH for the reasons you site, no matter how inscrutable their behavior seems.
    “Don’t they have more important things to do?” (or, place to be) — There is only stars and planets (well, dark matter & energy, too), so where else could they go? They could go to millions or billions of stars and planets given the essentially limitless automation advanced tech would be capable of. The agenda? I’d love to know, and we might as well continue the enjoyable speculation until we get any definite answers. Seeding planets with life could be one subroutine among billions of other subroutines, perhaps a beneficent cause that the parent civilization wrote into their machines – perhaps we are their “children”. Keeping us from destroying ourselves or the planet seems to be another activity, given the e/t’s vs. nukes cases. They are sentient machines, and all of this activity would amount to an infinitesimal fraction of what they do. -my best guess at this time.