Giving a detailed and accurate review of this massive work is a mission impossible. There are so many UFO incidents, personalities, events, ideas, theories and personal memories and anecdotes mentioned that makes it necessary to concentrate on a few themes. As I was an active ufologist in the 1980s it is exceedingly fascinating to once again encounter familiar names and UFO cases but this time from the personal inside view of Jacques Vallee.
Jacques Vallee, photo by Clas Svahn, June 2016
American ufology in the 1980s was heavily influenced and partly ruined by disinformation from various intelligence agencies. Bogus or very questionable documents were distributed to ufologists who often swallowed the bait resulting in endless debates and conflicts in the UFO community. Vallee understood very early that this was a trap and he gives many sad examples of how even serious ufologists were sidetracked by this game, when they instead should have been doing classic field investigation. If the object of this disinformation was to destroy the UFO movement they sure did an excellent job. Vallee is also convinced that the "absurd theories" about cattle mutilations as caused by predators, presented by FBI investigator Ken Rommel was a disinformation job funded by the CIA: "Ken Rommel threatens legal action against those who might propagate rumors of unnatural death. No wonder the ranchers are keeping the best cases quiet." (p. 18) Another problem in 1980s American ufology was the abduction phenomenon where amateur psychologists and ufologists made a mess of the situation by using hypnosis with indadequate knowledge of the proceedings. Vallee presents many inside views on this sad state of affairs and how it affected witnesses and ufology in general.
Vallee is no naive believer but he often voice his contempt for "rationalists", the skeptics who debunk UFO and paranormal phenomena without thorough investigation. In his view some of the more vocal skeptics could be working for intelligence organizations: "... when skeptics Truzzi, Klass and Oberg state their positions in the name of "rationalism" I have to bite my tongue. The disinformation is blatant, coming from these well-informed men who must have the same data I do..." (p. 256) Only Hilary Evans is mentioned as "one of the better skeptics of ufology" (pp. 449-450). With this statement I can only agree. Hilary Evans was one of the foremost donors to AFU and an open-minded skeptic.
Inspite of the controversial rumors of MJ-12 or other secret investigations mentioned in various documents Vallee becomes convinced that real secret research, a black project, is ongoing at some level. He documents several indications in this direction: "What about the people who brought Castillo to the United States and grilled him for several days about his experiences? Perhaps there is a project so black it could operate without a need for the extraordinary skills of Art Lundahl, the arcane knowledge of Kit, the military lines of command of Houser and Johnson." (p. 436)
There is also an even darker side to this issue. From his friend at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Hal Puthoff, Vallee is informed about a physicist who is said to have studied crashed saucers in the fifties and anlyzed the propulsion system. This physicist had been found hanged, his hands tied behind his back, his lab in shambles: "... all his plans were in a secret bank safe. In case of death, someone in the family would receive a letter with instructions to retrieve the documents. The letter did arrive but the bankers said that government men bearing official identification had opened the box and confiscated the contents." (p. 103)
A heartbreaking part of the diary is following the fate of Allen Hynek, the close friend and Invisible College collegue of Vallee. Hynek became involved with the couple Brian Myers and Tina Choate in Arizona, who introduced him to an English millionaire, Jeffery Kaye, who promised funding CUFOS research. In spite of bad health Hynek moved to Arizona where he died of cancer in 1986, Much of Hynek´s private archive was retrieved by Vallee but Brian and Tina succeeded in getting hold of the APRO archive which is now lost to research. Coral Lorenzen died in 1988 and this left the field without clear leadership.
Much of this volume is devoted to Vallee´s field investigating in Brazil and Argentina. But he also briefly mention several exceedingly intriguing contact cases involving the aliens-among-us theme. This becomes somewhat frustrating as there is no follow-up documentation. Equally frustrating is that Vallee, as did Hynek, dismiss the early contactees like George Adamski without any proper investigation. Vallee concludes simply that Adamski was a hoaxer. What scientific ufologists often fail to recognize is that this kind of emotional response is simply a reflection of the naïve new age ufologists who already know the answer without investigation. Mere criticism is not enough. You must have facts. This quote is revealing: "... I felt as I often do with contactees and visionaries, that I am before a deluded person, there´s something almost obscene about it; I´d rather change the subject" (p. 164). Vallee gives some favourable comments on John Keel, "...the development of his views and mine are striking" (p.254), but when it comes to contactees Vallee should have listened to Keel as he understood there was a reality behind many of the bizarre tales.
Not many scientific ufologists have been aware of how deeply influenced both Hynek and Vallee have been by ideas in the esoteric tradition. This becomes evident also in this volume of Forbidden Science. Hynek studied Manly Palmer Hall, Max Heindel and above all Rudolf Steiner all his life. His favourite book was Steiner´s Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. (p. 271) Vallee refer to hermeticists, mystics and occultists like Stanislas de Guaita, Sedir and Serge Hutin. (p. 78) Both Hynek and Vallee realize that the materialist, reductionist worldview is untenable, especially when confronted with UFO and paranormal phenomena.
To me the great mystery is why they didn´t follow in the footsteps of Desmond Leslie and discovered the central Esoteric Tradition, Theosophy and Alice Bailey? Hynek noticed that Rudolf Steiner realized there was a Spiritual Science, or science of the multiverse but he never understood that Steiner lost himself in the astral world without understanding how difficult perception is in at various levels of the multiverse. I takes intensive training by an adept of the planetary guardians (Higher Intelligence Agency) to not make basic mistakes in these worlds. Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency has an excellent chapter on Steiner in The Knowledge of Reality. The followers of Steiner often end up with far out conspiracy ideas as happened with Flying Saucer Review editor Gordon Creighton, who was much influenced by Antroposophy. That his articles became more and more vitriolic and rambling is even noticed by Vallee. (p. 352)
In his diary from August 12, 1988, Vallee writes: "My library contains every book I could find, in various languages, about life, death, and consciousness: works by scientists and hermeticists, mystics and doctors, yet none of them gives an answer or even a reasonable direction in research. " There is much I admire in the works and theories of Vallee, a.o. the Esoteric Intervention Theory. But how come he has missed the core Esoteric Tradition? I have in my blog and latest book argued that the Esoteric Tradition as formulated Helena P. Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and Henry T. Laurency constitutes the best and most interesting multiverse paradigm and theory to explain the multitude of intriguing phenomena documented by many researchers. Of special importance is that Bailey and Laurency also have solved the basic epistemological problem of how to intellectually relate to the claims in esotericism. The esoteric worldview as presented by these authors could be accepted as a reasonable working hypothesis by any scholar or academic.
These critical comments aside I still regard Jacques Vallee as one of the best and brightest researchers in our field. He is an intellectual heretic with extensive knowledge and field experience who dares to challenge both academic flatheads and the naive believers. The three volumes of Forbidden Science should be, not only read, but deeply studied by all serious ufologists. There is also much of magical, poetic beauty in several entries in Forbidden Science three where Vallee speaks of his love for his wife Janine and fascination of nature and life in general. His conclusions after years of research is that the UFO phenomenon is physically real; it is an unknown technology with extraordinary psychic components; governments, through their military intelligence channels are aware of this reality.