Outside the Box
Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won't ruin you - Bob Dylan
Though it's hard to think outside the box, once you do, you may need to think outside that box as well.
The box of Gerry Irwin
On February 28, 1959, Private First Class Gerry Irwin was en route from Nampa, Idaho back to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he served as a Nike missile technician. Late that evening, as he turning southeast on Route 14 around Cedar City, Utah, the sky was illuminated by a brilliant object crossing the sky in front of him. He pulled to the side of the road, got out of his car and watched it disappear behind a nearby ridge. Irwin thought he had witnessed an aircraft in trouble. Writing "Stop" on the side of his car with shoe polish he left a note attached to the steering wheel: "Have gone to investigate possible plane crash. Please call law enforcement officers."
On March 2, Irwin awoke in Cedar City Hospital, with no idea of what had happened to him or how he had got there. He had been unconscious since he was found, only an hour and a half after leaving his car, occasionally mumbling about a "jacket on the bush." His temperature and respiration were normal; it was simply as though Irwin were asleep and couldn't be woken. At last when he did, he felt fine, though his first words upon sitting up in bed were, "Were there any survivors?"
Irwin was informed he had been found alone, jacketless, and there was no sign of a crash. He was diagnosed with "hysteria" and flown to Fort Bliss, where he was placed under medical observation for four days, after which he returned to active duty but with his security clearance revoked. Several days later he fainted, though quickly recovered, and did again a few days later in El Paso, and was taken to hospital. Early the next morning he woke up and again said, "Were there any survivors?" He could not believe it was March 16; he thought it was still February 28.
Once more he returned to base, this time in psychiatric care for a month. He was discharged April 17, with test results showing "normal," but the next day gave in to an uncontrollable impulse to depart the base without leave, and caught a bus in El Paso for Cedar City, from where he walked to the spot of his sighting, left the road and went straight to a branch upon which his jacket still hung. And something was on his jacket. A pencil was stuck in a buttonhole, and a piece of paper was wound tightly around it. Irwin took the paper and burned it, and then seemingly snapped out of his entrancement. He had difficulty finding the road again, and not knowing what he was doing there, turned himself in to the local sheriff, who told him the story of his earlier episode.
Back at Fort Bliss he again underwent psychiatric examination, with identical results. Upon being released from camp hospital, he failed to report for duty August 1. He hasn't been seen since.
Irwin's story has been called "one of the strangest, most baffling cases in UFO folklore," but I disagree. Not only have I read stranger, I don't think this is even a UFO story.
Every UFOlogical account I've read of Irwin's case treats the military backstory to it as incidental. But Irwin was a missile technician on the base which, post-war and and Cold War, was a hub for Paperclip scientists, including Werner Von Braun, who integrated Nazi innovations into US military technologies. (Here's a class picture of Fort Bliss's German rocket team, which initially was restricted to base without military escort.) And we know, as well as rocketry, the Nazi scientists also brought to American proving grounds their advanced work in mind control.
Irwin "snapped out of it" after burning the paper, as though releasing himself from a hypnotic suggestion that had driven him to return to Cedar City (where, for what it's worth, alleged mind control survivor "Mauri" claims began her abuse by a privileged cult of Satanic Nazis). The only tenuous UFO connection is Irwin's claim to have seen a bright object transversing the sky, though it looked to him no stranger than an aircraft in trouble. And given the tricks his mind was playing, or the tricks someone was playing on his mind, perhaps we shouldn't assume there was anything to see at all. There were no other witnesses, and no evidence of a landing.
Was Irwin the unwitting subject of an experiment in mind control? Could be. Even though I'm persuaded of a UFOlogical reality that transcends hoaxes and cover stories, I think the confluence of military research and psychological trauma in the Irwin case are far more suggestive of a fairly sinister and secretive human agency. UFO researchers are probably guilty of confirmation bias by counting this story as legitimately one of theirs, and it may be hard to let it go, but I think the Irwin episode more likely belongs to a different, though often parallel, narrative.
The box of Fatima
Fatima is an interesting set of nested puzzle boxes that naturally predates any attempt to incorporate it into a military mind control narrative. But what is it?
To the Roman Catholic faithful it represents a Marian miracle. Skeptics, outside that box, regard it as mass hysteria. Joe Nickel, Senior Research Fellow of CSICOP, says of Fatima's dramatic "Miracle of the Sun" that "the effects were surely optical ones. For example, because one cannot focus on an object so bright, the eyes may dart back and forth, thus creating, by the effect of image and after-image, the appearance that the sun is 'dancing,' or the eyes may attempt to focus, retreat, again attempt, and so on, thereby giving the illusion that the sun was 'pulsating.'"
CSICOP's rational box will not allow for a third interpretation, which I considered two years ago in this post, and that I think makes better sense of the evidence by being honestly strange enough to account for it.
The "sun," which appeared out of a small cloud and had the appearance of a dull silvery disc, descended in "slow zigzags," according to Father Alves Vieira, quoted in Basiago and Thompson's Heavenly Lights. The object, which unlike the sun could be looked at without discomfort, moved in the rhythm "of a dry leaf that falls from trees in Autumn." Vieira could not know that he was also describing a maneuver which would become common to UFO sightings before the mid-1970s. For instance, on September 19, 1952, an RAF squadron observed a silver disk in the sky above one of their fighters. In a report submitted by Flight Lieutenant John Kilburn, he described it beginning to descend, "swinging in a pendular motion similar to a falling sycamore leaf" before accelerating into the west at "unbelievable" speed. (Curiously, the bizarre entities of the "Hopkinsville incident" were said to float gently to the ground in a falling leaf fashion after being shot, to no other effect, by members of the terrified Sutton family.)
The box of 9/11
9/11 has so many boxes, and more all the time, those might as well have been FedEx planes spilling Lament Configurations all over Lower Manhattan.
One of the arguments that something other than Flight 77 struck the Pentagon is the report of elevated levels of radiation downwind of the site following September 11. It was first proposed by nuclear weapons professionals and the former head of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project, who allege the readings suggest that impacting object was a DU-tipped missile.
"I'm not an explosives or crash site expert," says Leuren Moret, former staff scientist at Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory, "but I am highly knowledgeable in causes and effects related to nuclear radiation contamination. What happened at the Pentagon is highly suspicious, leading me to believe a missile with a depleted uranium warhead may have been used."
And to missile proponents, that's good enough to confirm a missile. After pulling themselves free of the Official Box, they think they're in the clear. But freethinkers, as much as anyone, need to ask themselves whether their thoughts are their their own, or if they find themselves in yet another box.
The crash of El Al Flight 1862 into an Amsterdam apartment block created a similarly toxic site, when its secret cargo, containing the equivalent of 270 kilograms of sarin gas and at least 800 kilograms of depleted uranium was disgorged. Thousands of rescue and recovery workers experienced health complaints, including symptoms of radiation sickness. Yet no one, in my reading, has used this as an argument that a cruise missile struck the building.
So what accounts for the elevated radiation readings at the Pentagon? Well, perhaps Flight 77 departed Washington bearing something that wasn't supposed to be there. Commercial aircraft, even passenger aircraft, have been co-opted by military to serve as mules before. Or perhaps the Pentagon wall which was struck - the only wall which had just then been reconditioned to better withstand terrorist attack - actually incorporated the extremely hard and dense metal in its composition. Either could be possible, and other explanations as well, which are more likely than the boxed-in assumption of a DU-tipped missile. (An assumption, as we've noted, that is championed by veterans of military intelligence. And if that doesn't make you at least wary that the hypothesis may serve another purpose than the truth, what is it going to take?)
Then there's the "fat Osama" video. It could be, maybe, he wasn't that fat after all. Perhaps the discrepancy in his appearance is accounted for by a failure to correct the aspect ratio of PAL to NTSC video conversion. If so, perhaps "fat Osama" has been a box for us all along, to keep us from considering the implications of the video's content and the circumstances of its creation. Bryan Sacks makes an interesting case here why "the true backstory of the tape's creation may provide smoking-gun evidence of US foreknowledge and complicity in the 9/11 attack." If so, then while we've been clucking over the obvious artifice of "fat Osama," we've missed its point, which was its purpose all along. And if so, and we're too enamored of fat Osama to ever let him go, then we'll keep on missing it, too.
So what's my point?
Critical thinking isn't instinctual. We shouldn't presume, in our disdain of the official story (whatever story that may be, and however official), that we've reached the truth once we stand with it's official opposition, because we may be either boxing ourselves in with rigid either/or thinking, or be boxed in by the authorities who mean to control both thesis and antithesis.
We should know that some boxes feel like home. They're meant to feel that way.