Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Today, I’ll be reviewing what I consider to be one of the most important books to ufology – Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults, by Jacques Vallee.
For being one of the most important books to ufology, Messengers of Deception is not specifically a book on UFOs or their occupants. Rather, it is a deep and unsettling look into the true effects of the UFO phenomena, not only on those who’ve seen or believed, but on culture and the general public.
From the offset, Messengers of Deception lends an air of solemnity and foreboding to the UFO phenomenon, especially if you have the 2008 edition with the new foreword from Vallee himself. He opens with some discussion on his eerie foreshadowing of the fate of the Human Individual Metamorphosis cult – what would become known as Heaven’s Gate. Messengers of Deception was originally published in 1979, eighteen years before the mass suicide which has ironically immortalized the cult.
The first chapter, “The Case Against the Spacecraft,” is pretty much summed up in that title. It is a concise, logical discussion on exactly why the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is faulty and sets the stage for the rest of the book. If Passport to Magonia made the definitive connection between UFOs and fairy lore, Messengers of Deception clarifies the religious and spiritual overtones prevalent in UFO contact.
Vallee also devotes a significant amount of time to the disturbing issue of cattle mutilation. Growing up in the post-X-files era, I was always under the impression that cattle mutilation and flying saucers went together like Laurel and Hardy, or tinfoil and paranoia. While there are folkloric precedents to cattle mutilation and UFOs, in the era of the friendly space bros, cattle mutilation seemed like such a bad P. R. move that the ufologists first tried to pawn it off on The Occult, while trigger-happy ranchers fired at government helicopters, convinced the military was to blame. Vallee chronicles these malleable beliefs regarding cattle mutilation in later chapters.
One of the most intriguing things about Messengers of Deception however is the sense of growing involvement of the unknown in Vallee’s life. Much like Keel, it seems as though the coincidences lined up to prove something, but what remains unknown. The great finale of this groundbreaking book calls into question whether the UFO problem can be solved by our current Science, an institution where things are either this or that, bad or good, real or imaginary, and makes something glaringly clear:
One of the most prominent effects on all history remains unknown, relegated to one of two beliefs, both of which are equally dangerous.
Messengers of Deception is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Messengers-Deception-UFO-Contacts-Cults/dp/097572004X
The effects of UFO sightings can be easily marginalized, relegated to crop circles, snapped treetops, and dead cows. The alien abduction phenomenon becomes more personal, leaving both physical and emotional scarring on the experiencer involved. However, there is a larger and more dangerous type of trace evidence largely ignored by conventional UFOlogy – the long-term effect on the life of the witness and the large-scale sway enacted on culture by things, or something, unknown.
For something not officially recognized to exist, UFOs certainly get around.