Sunday, August 17, 2014

The daydream believer

There are believers who appear to have no real rational reason for their beliefs. It’s some sort of internal thing with them with no apparent physical foundation on which to build a belief. They believe it, therefore it is true. I have a problem understanding that.

For instance, I don’t understand why author Philip Imbrogno, a UFO researcher, has the belief system he has. I'm left baffled after reading his 2010 book, Ultraterrestrial Contact, and his acceptance of alien contactee stories and experiences by people who, to me, are either mentally ill, on drugs, or just imaginative and skilled liars.

Imbrogno goes beyond the folklore of little bug-eyed gray men levitating unwilling subjects into flying saucers for the purpose of medical exams. He gets into stories of mystical "channeling" of alien entities (not unlike those claims some make of channeling spirits of the dead), or stories of little people and genies from mythology. He somehow connects it all with those contactee stories that have become modern folk tales.

The author goes into several stories of contactees, but I’ll only tell you about one, the story of Dean Fagerstrom. The author tells us how delightful Fagerstrom was in person, and how forthcoming he was with his stories of channeling an alien named Donestra from planet Solarian. I would think it fantasy if someone told me of a planet called “Solarian,” creating a proper noun by adding a three-letter suffix to the word “solar,” but Imbrogno doesn’t. He begins Fagerstrom’s story by saying, “Although Dean’s contacts seem to date back to his childhood . . . his adult experiences began in 1966, while he was in the army, stationed in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.”

Fagerstrom described to Imbrogno what sounds to me like a hallucination: Dean was at his desk (figuring out a system for lottery numbers (!)) when he felt a presence. He got up, didn’t find anything, sat back down at his desk. He looked at a whiteboard in front of him.

Quoting directly from the book:
Suddenly a human-like face appeared before his eyes! The face filled up just about the entire three-foot-square board. As the image got clearer, he saw that it was not one face, but two. There was a bluish shimmer around the edges of the image, and he could now make out the face of a man, and the other of a woman. The man had shoulder-length blonde (sic) hair while the woman had slightly darker and shorter hair. Both had what Dean described as ‘piercing blue eyes.’ . . . The male gave his name as ‘Donestra’ and the female gave her name as ‘Kilestra,’ Donestra’s wife.
Apparently Donestra and Kilestra are beings who have ascended to a higher plane of existence. Donestra has been receiving Dean’s thoughts “for years.” The story goes on to tell how Donestra gave Dean a sign a few days later, when Dean saw a UFO performing maneuvers in the sky. Dean was discharged from the army and went to live in Brewster, New York. There he had yet another encounter:
[Fagerstrom] woke up that morning and saw a bluish shimmer in the upper corner of the room. He also heard a high-frequency buzzing sound that vibrated his head and made him feel uneasy. Gradually, an object about three inches in diameter materialized in the location of the blue light. The object was round and metallic-looking, and resembled an old-fashioned microphone.
The object moved toward him, and hovered about ten inches from Fagerstrom’s forehead. It emitted a sound that “oscillated at a very high frequency,” and then “the probe came to within three inches of his forehead and emitted a very intense vibration that shook his head and neck . . . The object then went quiet and vanished right before his eyes.

The next day Dean went to an art store and bought some supplies, went home and drew these “designs” for unknown devices, apparently inspired by his channeled source.

 A couple of the drawings by Fagerstrom. They have a certain phallic look to them, but that would be coincidental, wouldn’t it?

So far, the people who’ve seen them haven’t been able to figure out what they are, although they praise the drawings.
As the years passed, Dean continued his contact with Donestra, resulting in him writing three unpublished five-hundred-page manuscripts: The Book of Solarian, The Celestial Citizen, and an untitled one.
Those manuscripts, including Imbrogno’s copies, mysteriously disappeared. Robbing us of Donestra/Fagerstrom’s cosmic wisdom, no doubt.

Fagerstrom even met another ascended entity, “Aphax,” who was “once a priest who taught philosophy and math in ancient Thebes in 2334 B.C.E.”

There is a lot more claimed by the author, including Fagerstrom’s ability to play piano and compose melodies like Franz Liszt. Dean is extremely lucky with lotteries (remember that lottery system he was working on in Germany, when he was contacted by Donestra?), but to bring this chapter to an end, Imbrogno says:
I stayed in touch with Dean until 2007, when he fell ill and had to be hospitalized. He’s now in a specialized facility that provides the care he needs. Dean’s legacy is still with us, and if I had to pick one case that convinced me about the possibility of extraterrestrial contacts, it would be the incredible experiences of Mr. J. Dean Fagerstrom.
The word “incredible” I translate as “beyond credibility.” I don’t know either Fagerstrom or Imbrogno, but Fagerstrom seems either delusional or a liar, and Imbrogno…well, I see him as being conned, perhaps due to a need to believe such fabulist tales. After years of working toward solving the “mystery” of alien contact and abduction, I think Mr. Imbrogno seems at a point where even the most fantastic tale from someone’s head is reasonable to him.

LSD was available in 1966 when Fagerstrom was in the army in Germany. I was familiar with it and a lot of other drugs being used by GIs in 1966-68 during my own time in the U.S. Army. (I spent 18 months serving in Germany during that period. In the interest of disclosure, I’ve never taken any of those drugs. I figured I had enough problems without altering my consciousness.) There’s no indication by Imbrogno that Dean took drugs, but his experience with the faces on the whiteboard sounds a lot like it.

Fagerstrom’s vision of Donestra having long blond hair echoes the stories of 1950’s flying saucer hoaxer George Adamski,* of an alien named Orthon. Adamski described him as “medium height . . . with long blond hair and tanned skin,” a 1950’s look at a surfer dude of a few years hence. I have a feeling that rather than there being a race of Nordic-like alien blonds, that Fagerstrom was more likely channeling fellow conman Adamski, who had published a couple of best selling books before his death in 1965.

I believe people in the mental health profession would have some questions to ask Dean Fagerstrom. What were those “contacts [that] date back to his childhood”? Did Dean “see” invisible people, did they come out of his closet at night, or from under his bed, or have the ability to float through walls and take him to the mothership?

What is the “specialized facility” where Dean is (presumably still) living? My mother had dementia, and saw people who weren’t there. I got several excited calls from her, including a couple where she told me of children she didn’t know playing in her living room. She left the room and came back, and the children had vanished. If my mother had read flying saucer/contactee/alien abduction literature would the children she saw have been little gray men? My mother also spent her last years in a “specialized facility” (an Alzheimer’s nursing home). There are a lot of things that can go on in the brain that cause people to see and experience incredible things. To me it explains the story of Dean Fagerstrom. Philip J. Imbrogno has more of these tales of contactees and he tells them straight-faced, without delving into any other possible mental conditions the contactee may have, or even a motive for telling such tall tales.

Imbrogno’s book, Ultraterrestrial Contact, is available from and other booksellers. I don’t believe a word of it, but in its own oddball way it’s an entertaining read.

*There’s more about Adamski here.

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