Several years ago, I read Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods?, and for a couple of months after that I was completely sold on the idea that we were visited by intelligent beings from other planets, at the dawn of civilization, and that all the ancient carvings and statues, supposedly of gods, were actually depicting those visitors wowing us with their technological know-how. Then once I tried discussing it with other people, as well as putting a bit of rational thought towards it, I realised it was complete and utter bollocks. Still, for that short space of time it was nice to have my view of the universe altered - I'd definitely recommend reading that book if you haven't, just don't take it seriously, 'kay?
This morning, I read something else, something NEW - something that no matter how much I think about it, I can't find any holes in it. A theory bandied about over the decades but one that's never really been given a lot of exposure. Something that had me grinning and laughing with the "Oh My!"-ness of it all - something that when I've tried to talk about with people in my daily life it's all fell to pieces because I was too excited. Something that's instantly made the whole world seem at once a lot more interesting, a lot more exciting, and a WHOLE lot more terrifying. That thing?
Giant airborne jellyfish.
Where did I read this? Why, the Fortean Times, of course! If you don't read this magazine, you really should - completely impartial, completely open to new ideas, and completely sceptical all at once. If there's something happening in the world that's remotely "out of the ordinary", it can be found within the pages of this magazine. The lead article of the current issue is written by Scott Deschaine, who's primarily a comics writer, but don't let that dissuade you - a good imagination also leads to a good, open way of thinking. And open thinking is EXACTLY what's required when dealing with such strangeness as this.
The theory, in one sentence, is this: UFOs and the like are not alien spacecraft, but are actually aerial invertebrates. I know what you're thinking. Ridiculous? Stupid? Mad? Absurd? No! Deschaine has put forward a VERY convincing case here, and if passing it on to the six or seven people who read this blog helps spread the theory, all the better!
Look at it like this, okay - over 70% of the planet's surface is covered by water. 94% of the Earth's known living creatures are aquatic, and there's still 95% of the underwater world that is yet to be explored. Every living thing needs water to live, that's a given. Now then, the Earth's atmosphere? That's five million times the volume of the oceans. Which is a LOT of unexplored space. And a big enough cloud easily contains the same amount of water as a shallow lake. It's already been scientifically established that there's life in the clouds - algae, bacteria, fungal spores, viruses, pollen, tiny insects and the like. It even has its own society, the International Association for Aerobiology. So already its accepted that there is something up there.
And now we distinguish what is thought to be up there from what is thought to be out there. How's this sound: when someone reports a UFO, it's a mechanical spacecraft from some far-flung corner of the galaxy, and upon arrival at our planet it does nothing but hover about for a bit and then disappear. OR... When someone reports a UFO, it's a rare sighting of something that's always there, something that belongs here, but something that doesn't get seen all that often. The human race isn't as omnipresent as it likes to think it is.
Deschaine lists ten ways in which UFOs are similar to our jelly-based friends, based on appearance, bioluminescence, movement, individual behaviour, group behaviour, life cycles, feeding, effects of humans, physical traces and likely habitats. I'm not going to go into detail on all of those here, but will at least TRY and explain things.
First of all, let's look at the general shape reported in UFO sightings. There's the classic saucer-shaped UFO:
And then there's the cigar-shaped UFO:
Compare these to the common underwater invertebrates, the jellyfish and the squid:
UFO witnesses have reported "craft" shaped like ice cream cones, shuttlecocks, parachutes... Noticing the similarities? They've even described them as jellyfish!
How about the translucent appearances of some UFO sightings? Most marine invertebrates are composed primarily of water - in a similar way, muses Mr. Deschaine, airborne invertebrates would be composed mainly of gas and water vapours, save for the gelatinous disc of muscle that helps propel them about the place - which would be the only piece visible to us lot on the ground.
And the strange lights and colours of a UFO? That's just bioluminescence!
Look at the often-reported "impossible" movements of this UFO:
Compared with the marine transportation methods - the pulsing and hovering of the jellyfish, the rocketing and the hovering of the squid...
Squid and jellyfish are both predatory hunters - both fairly high up on the food chain in their environments, eating anything they can get hold of (plankton, fish eggs, small fish and crustaceans, other jellyfish etc.), so what would an airborne jellyfish eat? Besides the potential for plenty of other species to munch on up there, the existence of such creatures could also explain another mystery that is usually UFO-related - cattle mutilations! "Glowing discs" are often reported shortly before livestock are found drained of internal organs, or turned inside out of whatever. Sometimes the carcasses are found at the top of a tree.
And it's not just the cows and sheep that have giant tentacles to fear - consider that in the United States alone, 2,300 people per day are reported missing. Deschaine's not saying that they were all eaten by jellyfish, but what of the reports of visible occupants inside UFOs - could we be looking at a jellyfish with a full belly? There's certainly the odd UFO "survival story" - cars being attacked and whatnot.
Even if we're not digested, there's been plenty of UFO "attacks" reported - and here's a REALLY weird one. Looking at lists of physiological effects of jellyfish stings and UFO encounters, there's a whole load of shared symptoms - eye irritation; skin swelling; blistering; heart attacks; lung damage; nausea; vomiting; kidney damage; destruction of skeletal muscles; destruction of red blood cells; disruption of the nervous system; loss of coordination; numbness; paralysis; headaches; agitation; panic; seizures; comas; depression; apathy; hallucinations...
So, with the existence of these lifeforms in our atmosphere, we can explain away UFOs, cattle mutilation, and so much more. How about ball lightning? Earthquake lights? Star jelly? Think about it! Even when it rains fish, frogs, or blood, this could be traced to the flying invertebrates - a large aquatic jellyfish could potentially be a "living island" for hundreds of smaller creatures. Were it to metamorphose from an aquatic to an atmospheric jellyfish, it would purge itself of water and anything else within. This could be a constant phenomenon around the oceans of the world, but on very rare occasions it would happen above land, leading to the international news reports of fish falls.
And the best part of this theory? There's ALREADY undeniable scientific proof that there's stuff living in the sky, from as early as 1962, when John Glenn was orbiting the Earth and he reported thousands of glowing fireflies, not to mention the scientifically accepted "sprites" - colossal, jellyfish-like aerial phenomena discovered on top of thunderstorms. 35 miles high (or higher!), that definitely aren't new forms of lightning, in that they've been seen "persisting" for longer than 30 minutes. They emit a deep infrasound and huge gravitational waves, appear in groups and interact with one another.
And what about the sceptical types? The best that they can come up with is that they sound like a species of Pokémon. Hardly a reasoned argument! Think what you will of all this, but it makes a lot more sense than other "different" theories - visitors from another planet, Creationism, that whole 2012 thing...
Apparently, Mr. Deschaine is working on a TV show that will use the latest available technologies to "seek new life in previously unexplored atmospheric habitats" - massively exciting times, indeed!
Apologies if you think it's all a load of nonsense, but... This is a big thing! People are always wondering about life on other planets, but when there's apparently so much crazy stuff that hasn't been discovered on our own planet yet... It's incomprehensible, and also terrifying in a wholly thrilling way.
2016 update of sorts:
Have a look at the comments below for a "first-hand account" from a Mr. Chris Jenson, which is interesting enough in itself... and something that was brought to my attention this morning as well - a Nobel Prize-nominated mathematician, cosmologist and physicist has made a new kind of telescope that can observe antimatter-light, and whilst testing it picked up some images of these "Invisible Terrestrial Entities" (as he's called them). Have a look, here.