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Some people are wondering if An Alien Who’s Who is a put-on. It’s not, but we’ll be the first to admit that what it presents –summaries of human contact with named extraterrestrial aliens – is hard to swallow. How should one process this kind of material? As it happens, author Michael Prescott recently tackled the subject of unbearable strangenesson his excellent blog. He wasn’t referring to this book in particular, but to all the stories of bizarre, unexplainable phenomena out there, which he finds “a bit unsettling.” He suggests three ways of understanding this material, “none of which is very palatable,” he admits. But it seems to us that these are the only choices we have, particularly when coming to grips with the material in An Alien Who’s Who by Martin Kottmeyer. Says Prescott: “The first possibility is that these weird claims are true, in which case reality is bafflingly and perhaps frighteningly strange. The second possibility is that these claims are false, in which case there is a great horde of otherwise normal people who believe things that are, in fact, crazy. This, too, is rather bewildering and scary; it means the human race is largely insane; psychosis is rampant; we are surrounded by nuts, and may be nuts ourselves. Then there is the third possibility, the one I personally find most likely – namely, that some of these things are true, and some are not, and a great many occupy a wide swath of gray area, an ambiguous borderland where the labels ‘true’ and ‘false’ are not easily applied. And this is, in some ways, the most disturbing prospect of all, because it suggests that we can never be quite sure what is real and what isn’t. We can make educated guesses, we can say that one case seems valid and another seems bogus, but we can’t really know and we could be quite wrong.”

One Response to “An Unbearable Strangeness”

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