The UFO phenomenon has long been a mystery to us. What causes the myriad cases of sightings and even alien encounters out there in the lore? There have been many answers posed, from the rational to the more bizarre, but one of the main ideas has been that these may possibly be alien visitors from beyond the solar system, who have come across a sea of stars to visit us for reasons we cannot possibly now fathom. But what if that is not actually the case? What if these beings are from not another solar system or galaxy, but from another reality sitting side by side with our own? Could these not be aliens from other planets, but rather something phasing across the veil to intrude into our dimension from another? Let’s take a look.
There has been a lot of talk about the so-called “multiverse,” in which a multitude of realities and dimensions exist overlayed with each other, our reality as we perceive it one of many, possibly infinite other universes all existing together side by side. Although it has only been in recent years that the concept of a multiverse and parallel dimensions has really been seriously explored and proposed as a source for extraterrestrial intelligences, the core idea of other dimensions is actually not particularly new. In the 19th century, the concept of other dimensions was popular among various occultists and spiritualists, mostly championed by the famous Russian mystic and author and co-founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She proposed a complex cosmology consisting of seven “planes,” or subtle states, levels, or regions of reality, and although she made it popular she was not the first one to have spread such ideas. The notion of what is called the aether (“ether”) had been postulated since the ancient Greeks, and was adopted by Blavatsky and other spiritualists and mystics to describe another plane or level of existence beyond the “lower planes” of solid, liquid, and gaseous matter, and which was often called the etheric plane. As this outlandish idea was adopted by spiritualists and theosophists, it turned into a whole, complex philosophy and world view that incorporated the idea that there were actually multiple other subtle planes or worlds or dimensions which pervade our physical planet, the solar systems, and all the physical structures of the universe, and which were inhabited by other entities. In essence, an early version of the multiverse.
The idea was embraced by a wide variety of high-profile spiritualists, occultists, and mystics, but at first had nothing to do with UFOs, and was largely confined to occultism and spiritualism. It would not be until 1947, right when the “flying saucer” craze was just starting to take off that American academic and early researcher of ufology and parapsychology Meade Layne would take the basic concept of these different planes and apply it to the emerging UFO phenomenon. Layne believed that rather than advanced extraterrestrial technology, flying saucers were piloted by beings from some parallel dimension, which he called “Etheria,” that their craft were etheric in nature, and were usually invisible but could be seen when their atomic motion became slow enough. He proposed that what people were seeing in the skies were not aliens from outer space, but rather instances of witnessing phenomena from parallel dimensions bleeding into our own, which he called “interdimensional hypostasis.” Layne would say:
It is possible for objects to pass from an etheric to a dense level of matter and will then appear to materialize. They then will return to an etheric conditions. These visitors are not excarnate humans but are human beings living in their own world. They come with good intent. They have some idea of experimenting with earth life.
He would also add that that these beings could become stranded on the terrestrial plane when their ether ships malfunctioned. Layne would go so far as to claim that he was in telepathic contact with these entities, and that those with well-developed psychic abilities could communicate with them as well. He said that their purpose was to study us and to slowly reveal their wisdom to humanity, and according to Layne these entities had been popping into our dimension for millennia, inspiring much of earth’s mythology and religion as well as various mythological or supernatural creatures. He also accused the government of knowing all about this and covering it all up. Even back then in the infancy of the field of UFO research he was considered a bit fringe, but he is largely regarded as one of the first to propose that aliens and UFOs might come not from outer space, but from other dimensions.
This was the first real genesis of what has gone on to become called the “interdimensional hypothesis,” and although it for years remained fairly lodged into the far boundaries of the weird even within the UFO community, some famed researchers would come to embrace it, and by the 1970s it had a small but prominent following within the field. In the 1960, respected and renowned paranormal author, UFO enthusiast, and author of the legendary book The Mothman Prophecies John Keel was a proponent of the hypothesis, in 1967 stating:
I abandoned the extraterrestrial hypothesis in 1967 when my own field investigations disclosed an astonishing overlap between psychic phenomena and UFOs. The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs.
He proposed that non-human or spiritual intelligence sources from a parallel realm had been appearing to humanity since time unremembered, and that they had the ability to influence the mind so that people saw what they wanted them to see. He believed that these interdimensional interlopers were possibly behind a whole host of other phenomena including monsters, ghosts, demons, the fairy myths of Middle Europe, vampire legends, anomalous creature sightings, religious apparitions, poltergeist phenomena, and UFOs, among many others, and that all of these various disparate phenomena were a sort of cover for what is really going on. In this view, the only reason we saw them as alien spaceships and not, say, vampires, is because in our modern technological society that is what we, or they, want us to see. He would call these entities “ultraterrestrials,” and write a paper on it called Five Arguments Against the Extraterrestrial Origin of Unidentified Flying Objects. Keel also discussed the interdimensional angle of the UFO phenomena extensively in his book UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, which when it was released caused the idea to gain more traction. In 1969, it was further propelled into the discourse with a speech by RAF Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard, a very high-ranking member of the British government, who shared Keel’s views on the matter and referred to these interdimensional phenomena as “paraphysical.” He would say of it:
While it may be that some operators of UFO are normally the paraphysical denizens of a planet other than Earth, there is no logical need for this to be so. For, if the materiality of UFO is paraphysical (and consequently normally invisible), UFO could more plausibly be creations of an invisible world coincident with the space of our physical Earth planet than creations in the paraphysical realms of any other physical planet in the solar system. Given that real UFO are paraphysical, capable of reflecting light like ghosts; and given also that (according to many observers) they remain visible as they change position at ultrahigh speeds from one point to another, it follows that those that remain visible in transition do not dematerialize for that swift transition, and therefore, their mass must be of a diaphanous (very diffuse) nature, and their substance relatively etheric.
The observed validity of this supports the paraphysical assertion and makes the likelihood of UFO being Earth-created greater than the likelihood of their creation on another planet. … The astral world of illusion, which (on psychical evidence) is greatly inhabited by illusion-prone spirits, is well known for its multifarious imaginative activities and exhortations. Seemingly some of its denizens are eager to exemplify principalities and powers . Others pronounce upon morality, spirituality, Deity, etc. All of these astral exponents who invoke human consciousness may be sincere, but many of their theses may be framed to propagate some special phantasm, perhaps of an earlier incarnation, or to indulge an inveterate and continuing technological urge toward materialistic progress, or simply to astonish and disturb the gullible for the devil of it.
One famed UFO researcher who would latch onto the hypothesis was the computer scientist, venture capitalist, author, ufologist and astronomer Jacques Vallée, who often talked about what he called “interlocking universes,” and like Keel hypothesized on the existence of a non-human consciousness, which may or may not possess a physical body or bodies, that exists either on or around the earth on another plane and is able to manipulate space, time and consciousness in ways that we presently do not understand, and that they might be able to masquerade as a wide range of phenomena. The interdimensional hypothesis was also supported by Vallee’s mentor, American astronomer J. Allen Hynek , who served as scientific advisor to the U.S. Air Force UFO studies: Project Sign, Project Grudge, and Project Blue Book. Hynek would say:
There could be other universe with different quantum rules or vibration rates if you want. Our own space-time continuum could be a cross-section through a universe with many more dimensions. … Think what a hard time you would have convincing an aborigine that right now, through this room, TV pictures are passing! Yet they’re here. You have to have a transducer to see them — namely a TV set. Well, in the same sense there may be interlocking universes right here! We have this idea of space, we always think of another universe being someplace else. It may not. Maybe it’s right here.
The idea that UFOs and aliens are interdimensional in nature would in some ways solve many of the nagging conundrums that have hung over many of the accounts. It would explain the ability for these entities to completely evade detection, to appear and disappear at will, and also the vast range of bizarre details given in accounts of encounters with aliens and even abductions. It would also make sense in that the universe is a very big place, and there seem to many technical troubles with traversing it. The main hurdle to interstellar travel is the speed of light, which through a vacuum is exactly 299,792,458 meters (983,571,056 feet), or 186,282 miles, per second. According to Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity, on which much of modern physics is based, that’s it, that’s the fastest anything in the universe can go. This is not just a speed bump, but more of a brick wall, the immutable universal speed limit which can never be surpassed. Although the reason for why this should be so is incredibly complex, the basic explanation is that the faster you go, the more your spatial dimension in the forward direction shrinks and the slower your clock runs when viewed by an external observer. Space and time are not a fixed background that are the same everywhere, but rather can warp and bend, so essentially this means that when you pass the speed of light, you reach a point in which your spatial dimension in the forward direction shrinks down to nothing and your clock slows to a stop. Essentially, since you are no longer moving forward and time is standing still, you are now in a reference frame that does not exist, and therefore space and time do not actually exist beyond this point. It is much, much more complicated than this, but that’s the gist, and since why the speed of light is the universal speed limit is beyond the scope of this article let’s move on.
The important takeaway here is that’s what we have, that’s as fast as we can go. That’s as fast as anything can go, and it is a fundamental part of the way the universe works, but the problem is that it’s just not fast enough. Let’s look at the closest star to Earth, which is Proxima Centauri, which is about 4.25 light-years away, around 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km), so we can’t drive it. 4.5 light years might not seem that bad, but to put it into perspective if we were to take the fastest Earth spacecraft ever made, which would be the Parker Solar Probe, with a top speed of 450,000 miles (724,000 km) per hour, it would still take us about 6,633 years to reach that star. Even if we could somehow reach the speed of light, which we can’t, it would still take us 4.5 years to get there, which is a pretty long trip. If we ever want to visit other star systems, it would take extreme amounts of time unless we could break this batrrier. If the aliens have not been able to do that it seems it would be a logistical and practical nightmare to pull off, to come all of that way. Is that really the most believable answer, or could it be that they have not spent decades traversing the void, but rather have merely hopped over between dimenions to get here instantaneouslty? Would it be so hard to believe when compared to the idea that they are aliens from another faraway planet across the vast expanse of space?
In the end there is no way to really know. UFOs and alien reports could be caused by anything, we simply have no way of knowing. They could be from other worlds, other dimensions, or even humans time traveling from the future. Who can really say for sure? Nevertheless, despite the high-pofile supporters the idea of aliens and UFOs as interdimensional phenomena has nevertheless remained largely unpopular in the UFO field at large, and it has mostly been considered a fringe concept even within a field that embraces all manner of other far-out concepts, with no more evidence than the interdimensional hypothesis holds. While we may not know any time soon whether UFO accounts are aliens from other worlds, other natural phenomena, or even simply made up nonsense, the idea that something may be bleeding over into our reality from another dimension bumping up against us does not seem to be needlessly farfetched, and perhaps is not an avenue of inquiry that should be dismissed out of hand. Whatever the ultimate answers might be, perhaps it is best to keep all options on the table. Someday the answers may come to us, but for now we can only look up at the sky and wonder.