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Wonders In The Sky:
Unexplained Aerial
Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times

by Jacques Vallée and Chris Aubeck

One of the most ambitious works of paranormal investigation of our time, here is an unprecedented compendium of pre-twentieth-century UFO accounts, written with rigor and color by two of today's leading investigators of unexplained phenomena.

In the past century, individuals, newspapers, and military agencies have recorded thousands of UFO incidents, giving rise to much speculation about flying saucers, visitors from other planets, and alien abductions. Yet the extraterrestrial phenomenon did not begin in the present era. Far from it. The authors of Wonders in the Sky reveal a thread of vividly rendered – and sometimes strikingly similar –  reports of mysterious aerial phenomena from antiquity through the modern age. These accounts often share definite physical features, such as heat – felt and described by numerous witnesses – that have not changed much over the centuries. Indeed, such similarities between ancient and modern sightings are the rule rather than the exception.

In Wonders in the Sky, respected researchers Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck examine more than 500 selected reports of sightings from biblical-age antiquity through the year 1879 – the point at which the Industrial Revolution deeply changed the nature of human society, and the skies began to open to airplanes, dirigibles, rockets, and other opportunities for misinterpretation, often misrepresented as military prototypes. Using vivid and engaging case studies, and more than seventy-five illustrations, they reveal that unidentified flying objects have had a major impact not only on popular culture but on our history, on our religion, and on the models of the world humanity has formed from deepest antiquity.


  About The Authors

acques Vallee is one of today's most widely respected researchers of unexplained aerial phenomena. He earned a master's degree in astrophysics while living in France and holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University. Vallee is the author of several books about high technology and unidentified phenomena, including the seminal work Passport to Magonia, published in 1969. He lives in San Francisco.

Chris Aubeck has built the largest collection of pre-1947 unexplained aerial cases in the world. In 2003, he co-founded The Magonia Project, a remarkable network of librarians, students, and scholars of paranormal history on the Internet. The group has accumulated thousands of references, searched media archives in several languages, and collected hundreds of rare documents, scientific reports, and newspaper clippings. Aubeck lives in Madrid, Spain.


Editorial Reviews:
Vallee examines sightings in antiquity
Customer Review by John H. Macdonald - November 29, 2010

It's been a long time since Vallee's seminal Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds...I've long anticipated Jacques Vallee's latest book, and I do recommend it highly. That said, it is only fair to let readers know that this is much less of Vallee himself than I had hoped, the authors devoting most of the book to a chronology of 500 reports of strange events reported from ancient times to 1879, complete with sources and notes for each (Readers familiar with Vallee's Magonia Database will instantly recognize the format). The chronology ends in 1879, as this is the point at which manmade objects appeared in the sky for the first time. Vallee devotes much of his commentary to sections the precede and follow the cases, presenting his criteria for inclusion and standards of credibility, as well as a summary of his approach and mindset. This is a valuable introduction to the complex framework through which he views these "anomalies". Those unfamiliar with Vallee's thought will be brought up to speed quickly. The brief discussion of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions as it pertains to "anomalies" was very interesting.

The main thrust of the book is that these unexplained phenomenon did not appear suddenly with Kenneth Arnold's "flying saucer" sighting on June 24th, 1947, but have been with us since the dawn of recorded history. His thesis is that each generation views these events through it's own cultural filter and frames them in a context that is peculiar to its time and place. The bottom line is that the extraterrestrial hypothesis is not the only way to view these events; Vallee speculates that this view may simply be a product of our times, and explores alternatives. He also explains that his method is "fact based" rather than "belief based"; essentially refusing to filter events through our cultural lens to establish credibility, accepting an event as reported even if it defies "common sense".

The structure of the book is interesting, being divided into three main sections: 1.) A Chronology of Wonders, 2.) Myths, Legends, and Chariots of the Gods, and 3.) Sources and Methods. These three sections are preceded by an in Introduction and a Forward, and followed by a Conclusion chapter; these alone are worth the price of the book.

Part One - Chronology of Wonders...presents in chronological order, 500 recorded events of unexplained aerial phenomenon that predate man's ability to take to the air. These cases are those examined by the authors using criteria outlined in the book and found to be credible in terms of their sources and reliability. It is important to note that the events are reported as given by the source, and there is no discussion or evaluation of each case; you read what was reported and in most cases the report is a half page or so. This is not a bad thing, but one would love to have Vallee's thoughts on many of these cases.

Part Two - Myths, Legends, and Chariots of the comprised of those accounts that seem to be questionable: blatant hoaxes, religious visions, and atmospheric effects. This is an effort to remove from the "canon" those cases which, on examination, should be dismissed, lest they cloud the more credible cases in Part One. Various accounts from popular ufology (such as the Dropa) are investigated and reasons given as to why they should be considered questionable at best. This is a rewarding exercise as we see the author's mind at work.

Part Three - Sources and Methods is a fascinating discussion of the methods used to judge the credibility of cases and an examination of sources of all kinds. This chapter presents the idea of fact based vs. belief based reporting and examines both the "ancient astronaut" beliefs, and the modern "extraterrestrial" hypothesis arising after the Kenneth Arnold sighting. Disgarding both "belief systems", he provides his own answers - which I will not attempt to paraphrase.

The Conclusion Section provides an analysis of what has been learned from an examination of the cases presented in the form of twelve questions and answers from the authors.

The entire book is a terrific one volume introduction to this seminal thinker, and an attempt to expand the range of possible explanations for these events beyond the extraterristrial hypothesis. For anyone interested in unexplained aerial phenomenon, this is a treasure trove of information. Vallee fans will be delighted; those unfamiliar with his work will learn much.

For some interesting thoughts on possible explanations for the "high strangeness" phenomenon, those with a bent toward particle physics and quantum theory will certainly enjoy the classic The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality. Talbot presents a chapter that is focused on events that have no seeming rational explanation in our current view of reality, and this chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

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