Hi again, everybody! I’m back!
Some specific claims regarding relatively ‘orthodox’ communication systems (‘languages’) reported as used in the context of alleged contact with extraterrestrial entities. As ever, detailed references on request.
One especially prominent advocate of the reality of extraterrestrial languages of a more ‘orthodox’ nature is Mary Rodwell (Perth, Western Australia). Rodwell organises support groups for ‘experiencers’ (most of them ‘abductees’) and produces books, videos etc. on the subject, with samples of the written and spoken forms of alien languages as well as alien-inspired artwork. Rodwell promotes the view that these experiences represent actual physical happenings. Her ideas are discussed at length in the ‘Alien Semiotics Project’ papers mentioned earlier. The spoken and written material cited by Rodwell is produced by ‘experiencers’ rather than directly by aliens; the forms and sequences are outlined in largely self-reported case studies, notably that of the repeat-experiencer Tracey Taylor. The written material has the appearance of text written ‘grass-stroke’ style in a range of large alphabets, syllabaries or (parts of) logographies. There is too little material in each sample to be more confident, especially in the absence of useful translations. In fact, the translations offered for both the spoken and the written material are typically holistic only; they represent entire messages rather than individual words or phrases. Morpheme-by-morpheme translations are not available, and this point is actually emphasised by Rodwell. This conveniently excuses Taylor and others from being asked to assist linguists seeking to analyse the languages in the normal way by breaking utterances down into meaningful units and analyses using substitution and other such exercises.
Other cases involving alleged extraterrestrial languages include one presented by Janet and Colin Bord, who report the alleged finding (by John Reeves) of paper bearing an unintelligible manuscript; as this finding immediately followed a UFO sighting (in 1965), the material was interpreted as alien (‘Martian’) in origin. A decipherment was later offered but with no authority or conviction. A similar case, also reported by Bord & Bord, involves the ‘Silpho Moor Disk’ (eighteen centimetres wide) found in Yorkshire, UK, in 1957, containing copper foil sheets and bearing ‘hieroglyphic’ inscriptions on both disk and sheets. These too were ‘deciphered’ as containing extraterrestrial messages. Bord & Bord refer also to the similar texts presented by George Adamski and to the supposed links with Marcel Homet’s work (see above).
One very forthcoming reporter was the 1960s contactee Bernard Byron, who claimed fluency in seventeen written and spoken extraterrestrial languages (some of them extrasolar) and was happy to provide specific translations. He was interviewed by the skeptical astronomer Patrick Moore, but unfortunately his material was never recorded at sufficient length for useful linguistic analysis.
Allen Greenfield commences from the alleged oddity of the names reportedly given by extraterrestrial aliens for themselves, and argues that aliens (and now contactees) are in fact using a Kabbalistic cipher which is related to the Roman alphabet as used to write English.
The experiences recounted by Alec Newald, who had a ‘missing time’/UFO-abduction experience, involved ‘telepathy’; but he does report a series of written single numerical symbols corresponding with the integers 0-12 (suggesting that the aliens use Base-13 or a higher base, see below on Jim Sparks).
Another set of claims involves the ‘Wingmakers’, extraterrestrial beings (‘a specialized training faction of the Central Race that – for the most part – is not incarnate in a physical form’) who have allegedly provided contactees with large amounts of information ‘translated from a language that does not easily translate to human definitions’. This belief system arose from the claimed discovery in 1996 of an alien artefact near Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.
The ufologist George Hunt Williamson claimed to have experienced many communications with aliens – some through devices resembling ouija boards. Although he uses the term tongue (‘language’), the linguistically novel elements of these communications very largely involved only individual alien names and other single words. In addition, Williamson presents a series of some 81 symbols, channelled to his associates in 1952 and identified as the ‘Solex-Mal’ system. Each symbol is linked with an alien word spelled out in the Roman alphabet. Some of the symbols form structurally-related series, and, where symbols form such a series (and thus share features), the associated words are phonetically similar. A number of the symbols/words are provided with English glosses (words or phrases). Williamson also promotes bizarre etymologies and analyses involving the mystical significance of the positions of letters in words, such as English ladder and its earlier form with initial h-.; he links these claims with his views on alien contact with humanity extending over the centuries. See also later on Williamson and the ‘Rocks of Writing’.
Another case involving alphabetic writing is that of Jim Sparks, who claimed to have been taught an alien alphabet in which the number and direction of the strokes making up each character was crucially important (or so perceived). Suspiciously, the characters correspond directly with the letters of the Roman alphabet (except Q, X and Z) – or with integer symbols, but only 1-6 (this might suggest use of Base-7, comparable with the Base-13 suggested by Newald’s data as reported above). In writing, the alien users of the system would place one symbol over another, until only a black spot was visible, although Sparks believed that the aliens could still resolve this into characters when reading. Sparks was initially taught to read alien texts from right to left but was later presented with texts arranged in circular form.
There are various cases in which no coherent account of alien language could be provided but where individual alien words or unintelligible alien speech were reportedly heard or where witnesses later attempted to imitate or reproduce alien speech-sounds without any understanding, and other cases involving unintelligible symbols (sometimes possibly non-linguistic in nature) reportedly observed on alien craft.
More next time, involving alleged ancient visits to Earth by extraterrestrials!