The UFO phenomena is an incredibly dense and complex subject, one that often leaves us with more questions than answers. In some unique cases, we are left with material traces from close encounters with the unknown. Join Into The Portal as we explore such cases as presented in a comparative survey by prominent Ufologist Jacques Vallée, and discuss ideas related to The Interdimensional Hypothesis in a follow up of the Maury Island Incident of 1947.

Hynek and Vallee pictured together

Hynek and Vallee pictured together

The Vallee article is interesting in several regards. One of his later works published in 1998, Vallee stresses the idea that material traces directly related to close encounters with UFOs can and should be scientifically analysed and compiled so that further light can be shed on the phenomena. He uses four criteria to determine if a case is valid and worth cataloguing:

“1) the literature gives sufficient ground to support the fact that an unusual aerial phenomenon occurred, 2) the circumstances of the actual recovery of the specimen are reported, 3) there is data to suggest that the specimen is in fact linked to the observed aerial object, and 4) physical analysis has been performed by a competent laboratory of known reliability.” (Vallee, 1998)

Using these criteria Vallee then goes on to present a new construct for understanding close encounters with unknown aerial phenomena. Inspired by Hynek’s classification system which assigns a number to each type of encounter, Vallee expands this system to include typology and category. As such, Vallee presents a chart detailing all the different possibilities of encounters ranging from fly-by’s to maneuvers including trajectory discontinuity (think non-ballistic motion) to simple anomalies. These categories are accompanied by a numbered type ranging from 1, a sighting, all the way to 5, physiological effects. This last type is differentiated from physical effects that relate specifically to the environment, things like burn marks on the ground, broken branches etc. Overall it is clearly a competent way to analyze the ten cases Vallee choses to include in his preliminary survey.

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Vallee has chosen to include ten case studies in the article, some packed with a plethora of detail, witness testimony and multiple firms providing competent testing on the evidence presented. All come from a catalogue compiled by Larry Hatch, a researcher with over 20 years under his belt collecting all information related to UFOs. Hatch is very specific in what he chooses to include:

"flying saucers, disks and spheres... wingless fuselages, cloud cigars, cylinders, flying triangles, deltoids, diamonds and other odd shapes." He also wants people to know that he doesn't catalog "new-age, religious miracles, spiritual or cult events; Bigfoot, chupacabras, bogeymen or cryptozoology in general; no pyramids or faces on Mars, no crop circles or other forteana unless directly UFO-related."  (https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/looking-for-ufos-tools_n_2886226 )

This very specific set of criteria set the stage for Vallee, whose task was then to select cases that specifically left behind material traces that can be directly attributed to the UFO encounter. Important to note is that Vallee does not attempt to form any premature conclusions or determinations as to what the phenomena might possibly be. The abstract states as follows:

“most cases cannot lead to a definite conclusion about the nature of the phenomena that gave rise to each specimen, but much can be learned from the methodology involved in such analysis. Furthermore, a compilation of similar cases on an expanded basis may eventually lead to the discovery of underlying patterns.” (Vallee 1998, emphasis mine)

Vallee identifies two distinct types of material left at the scenes of these unexplained encounters. The first is a light, silvery metal alloy that is predominantly aluminum and magnesium with trace elements of other elements. Interestingly, magnesium is often used to make strong lightweight alloys used in the aerospace industry, and burns with a brilliant white flame, and so is often used in pyrotechnics. The second class of materials is a dark, heavy slag-like material reminiscent of industrial by-products such as iron, zinc, cobalt among others.

The cases Vallee presents for study range from incorporating one of these materials, to both as in the case of the Maury Island Incident. While Vallee does not stop and weigh in heavily in this particularly troubled case, it fits the profile and so Vallee choses to include it. Whether it was a hoax or not, Vallee remains neutral and relies on the data presented by investigators in the case. Interestingly, Vallee notes that the FBI investigation never revealed the findings of its analysis of materials collected (if they were ever actually analyzed) but does note that Kenneth Arnold and Ray Palmer released the findings of a private analysis, and concluded:

“primary constituents were calcium, iron, zinc and titanium. Also found were aluminum, manganese, copper, magnesium and silicon, nickel, lead, strontium and chromium. Traces of silver, tin and cadmium were also reported.”

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What the ten cases highlight overall is the underlying pattern of continuities that at first does not appear obvious when examined individually. However, when placed in a comparative survey it becomes evident that the elemental consistencies outweigh the anomalies. And in all cases, the materials are of terrestrial origin, albeit in some cases the composition is inconsistent with human manufacture as in the case of the Bogota Incident where “the sample included no fluoride and no water, contrary to most aluminum samples: fluoride is a common by-product of aluminum production.” (Vallee 1998)

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The consistency of materials belonging to the inorganic, alkali metals family leads one to wonder what purpose such metals have, all seemingly utilized in a liquid state until ejected from the UFO in question. The obvious assumption is that the liquid metal is being used in some way to generate power for the craft. Vallee highlights a few uses we already have for liquid metal technology, some, such as the homopolar generator, having existed since the 1900’s. Others, such as the Magneto-hydrodynamic generator has seen multiple revolutions in technology, the latest and most efficient form being the disk-generator, a device that looks oddly like many of the unidentified craft seen soaring through skies. Two forms of these MHD generators or motors exist, closed and open systems. Whether any this technology is actually employed by UFOs remains to be proven by other means than the survey Vallee presents, but he does include them anyway.

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One of the main interesting elements of the article, in general, is the juxtaposition of Vallee’s dominant views in the field of Ufology (firmly in the camp of the Interdimensional Hypothesis) and the materiality of the evidence that leans more so to the idea of nuts and bolts craft that come from another world… at first glance. However, when one begins to unravel the case for both, it arguably makes more sense in the context of the Interdimensional Hypothesis, as none of the materials are extraterrestrial in origin. Going down the interdimensional rabbit hole one could argue that UFOs are entities that exist in a dimension next to our own, on this same planet, imperceivable until a crossover occurs producing an intersection between our dimension and another. In this sense, the anomalies witnessed by so many are really echoes or apparitions coming through other dimensions in to our own. The analogy I like to refer to is that of a novel, where each page is represents a different dimension, each existing in close proximity to one another, some closer than others. Some dimensions may have different rules altogether related to physics, and when they appear in our dimension they seemingly break all the rules as a result. Non-ballistic motion may be included in this discussion, as could the ability to slip in and out of measurable technologies such as radar.


An interesting point to note is the idea that UFO sightings over the decades have seen a steady progression of technologies, from the airships of the 1890’s to more advanced rockets in the 1940’s and so on. Some researchers of the IDH camp firmly believe that this is because UFOs are really echoes of ourselves, bouncing back through time to past generations. The advancements correspond to roughly a 60-year gap in technology that could be interpreted as terrestrial human technologies yet to be invented. Another line of reasoning that is decidedly less extraordinary is the idea that these sightings involve terrestrial craft of human origin which are actually secret technologies being developed in private by the military in present times. So no time travel involved. While not nearly as fun to this about it does veer into the conspiratorial camp that proclaims government involvement and subsequent cover-ups.

What is your favourite UFO theory? Send your ideas over to Intotheportalmailbox@gmail.com or comment below - we would love to hear from you!

Written by Amber Rae Bouchard