Last week the British tabloid The Mirror --that bastion of professional journalism-- managed to cause quite a stir on the Interwebz through an interview with Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the Moon, in which he allegedly claimed 'peace loving ETs' had prevented us silly monkeys from going KABOOM! with our nuclear weapons, the same way a concerned parent will take a box of matches away from the hands of a reckless child.
As any seasoned UFO buff should know, Dr. Mitchell is no stranger to going on the record to show his total convincement on the reality of the UFO phenomenon --even though he's quick to point out he's never seen one personally-- and to mention how his public notoriety has granted him 'inside information' about the (in)famous Roswell crash and the government cover-up of the extraterrestrial presence in our planet. So naturally everyone assumed Mitchell said what The Mirror claimed he said, which led to a launching of mockery bombs and snide mortars from the skeptic battlefront. Even people in the pro-UFO camp (myself included) were quick to point out in online forums and other social media how, despite the work of notable researchers like Robert Hastings, Robert Salas and Peter Robbins --who have helped uncover how UFO activity was reported inside or near highly sensitive military bases, as well as during nuclear and missile tests-- this still didn't tell us ANYTHING about the intentionality of the intelligence(s) manipulating these objects. Yes, we could deduct by cases like the Rendlesham encounters the phenomenon showed a peculiar interest in our nuclear technology, but to jump to the conclusion it was actively working to prevent World War 3 was still an unsubstantiated assumption, more influenced by pop culture (e.g. The Day the Earth Stood Still) than hard evidence.
In the end, Mitchell has publicly accused The Mirror of misquoting him --even though the newspaper editors and the reporter who broke the story are sticking to their guns-- and yet I believe this episode turned out to be useful, because it opened up an interesting philosophical speculation: If the aliens are so advanced and benevolent, why didn't they help us avoid tragedies like the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, or even the crashing of the two planes on the Twin Towers in 2001?
One could come up with all sorts of ideas to answer this question, depending on your personal view of the UFO enigma: If you're a hardcore 'nuts-and-bolter' perhaps you'd favor the 'no interference' hypothesis a-la Star Trek's Prime Directive --even though the multiple installments of the franchise loved to show the many ways in which the crew of the Enterprise violated this hallowed mandate of the Federation!-- or if you remember the famous "I think we are property" quote by Charles Fort, you might be likely to assume our alien overlords wouldn't be terribly interested in preventing us from engaging in our tribal-warfaring shenanigans, the same way a beekeeper doesn't care much about preventing his bees from stinging other insects, so long as they continue producing honey for him --the beekeeper might be forced to intervene though, if an eventuality ends up threatening the survival of the hive; which could reinforce the assumption of our alien overlords drawing the line to our domestic violence, if it ended up escalating into nuclear warfare...
My favorite Sci-Fi film showing ETs putting their foot down --or any pseudopod appendage they might possess-- to our flirting with Armageddon is The Abyss (1989) in which James Cameron not only captured the Cold War paranoia of the 80's, but also presented to the audience the (very real) phenomenon of USOs and their hair-raising rendezvous with American and Soviet submarines. Which brings us to yet another hypothesis to explain why aliens would show concern about our nuclear arsenal, since Cameron's angelic-like aliens happen to be secretly sharing our planet with us, hence their motives are not entirely altruistic --something the late Mac Tonnies also explored with his posthumous book 'The Cryptoterrestrials.'
But our world has changed drastically since the 1980s. Our fear of a nuclear holocaust has waned and been replaced by fears of environmental degradation, and the much more immediate threat of international terrorism, which has become without a doubt the strongest shaping force in the political landscape of the early XXIst century. Which brings us again to our aforementioned question: Why don't the aliens do something to help us get rid of this modern menace?
Well, it so happens there is one particular case in the annals of UFOlogy, where a non-human agency DID seem to intervene in order to prevent the spread of terrorism --if only in a very minuscule manner...
The story I'm about to share with you, dear Coppertops, was originally brought to the public light by Juan José Benítez (b. 1946) --a Spanish investigator of great renown in all Hispanic nations-- in his book 'La Quinta Columna' (The Fifth Column) published in 1990, which dealt with various close encounters with humanoids he personally investigated in his native country of Spain, during the 1970s and 80s. These were not the type of overly publicized cases that made headlines all around the world, like Travis Walton's, but were painstakingly researched by Benítez after traveling for hundreds of miles all around the small villages of Spain, gathering the testimony of the simple farmers and honest village folk who witnessed these events, and were not seeking publicity or monetary gain from them.
This particular close encounter occurred around the middle of August in the year of 1980. The witnesses (a man, his wife and sister-in-law) who confided their amazing experience to Benítez chose to remain anonymous, for reasons which will appear obvious to the reader: At that time these people were members of ETA, the paramilitary nationalist and separatist group seeking the independence of the Basque country from the rest of Spain. Their radical tactics have resorted to bombing public transportation, kidnappings and murder, and hence is considered a terrorist organization by Spain and France --the 2 countries in which it's active-- as well as the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom --which had to deal with similar problems of its own with the IRA. Of course, this is the type of old-fashioned terrorism which used violence to further a defined political cause, not the religious-influenced variant we're experiencing right now (ISIL medieval methods make ETA look like a bunch of politicized hooligans in comparison!). On October of 2011, ETA announced a 'definitive cessation of its armed' activity.
But in 1980 the Basque nationalists were still pretty much in business. Our witnesses were traveling from Madrid to Asturias --whether there were more people accompanying them is not known, although ETA used to operate in 'taldes' (commandos) of 3 to 5 members-- and when they were passing through the province of León they decided to make camp in an beautiful area of ancient castles where a river ran through (make not of this).
They raised their tents, had supper and went to bed at around 11:00 pm. The male witness and the 2 women were sharing the same tent, but for reasons neither of them could point out or comprehend they were unable to fall asleep. It was as if something was stirring in the air, like the charging of energy right before a lightning strikes to the ground.
Suddenly, the darkness of night ceased in an instant, and everything became bright as noon.
"Almost at unison, in midair, a human head began to take shape," the man told Benítez. Everybody was then struck with an indescribable terror --which is a very common element during close encounter events-- but the panic subsided almost as immediately as it had appeared, and gave way to a 'current' of peace that seemed somehow connected to the 'shaping' of the bodiless head, which continued to gain more definition, until it 'transformed' into a complete being. "It's curious," the witness added; "it was almost as if it's 'materialization' was mediated by our acceptance of the phenomenon" --Fatima, anyone?
The being standing next to the amazed commando of Etarras was a man over 3 meters tall. He looked middle-aged (between 40 or 45 years old), wore a white tunic, and had tanned skin. His features and proportions were the embodiment of human perfection, and his face beat any canon of beauty. He had long hair with an amazing white tonality, and his piercing blue eyes stood out from everything else.
So yeah, clearly the Favioest of *all* 'Space Favios'...
The giant wore no emblems of any kind, nor carried weapons or anything else. His whole being 'irradiated' an aura of peace and confidence. He presently spoke to the startled assembly --no details of the communication are given, except that the being gesticulated with his hands as he talked to the witnesses, so it's assumed this was not a 'telepathic' transmission-- and his words, according to Benítez's confidant, were the 'key' by which they managed to change their ways and their philosophy of life completely.
Again, the witness didn't elaborate on what exactly was said by this enormous, beatific entity --or if he did, Benítez chose not to include it in his book-- other than it had such an immediate and profound impact on him, he had the sudden impulse to leave everything behind, and moved as if to follow the giant to... wherever it was he had come from. Noticing this, the being made a 'calm down' hand gesture to restrain the man, and after saying good-bye he vanished in seconds, taking with him the clear light which had enveloped the camp during the entirety of the encounter, leaving everything as if nothing had happened on that fateful summer night.
Well, almost everything, because from that day forward, Benítez's claimed, these Basque radicals --at least the three individuals coming forward with their testimony-- renounced their former life of violence, and sought the path of Peace.
So there you have it: A fascinating paranormal encounter between members of an armed nationalist group and a non-human entity; one which a century ago would have easily been taken for an angel from Heaven --and who's to say our modern assumptions about space interlopers visiting us in tin cans are more accurate?-- which forced a handful of individuals to turned their back on terrorism. The lack of confirming details will probably make a skeptic reader discard this tale as nothing more than a colorful anecdote, although the bizarre 'non-canonical' elements (the lack of a 'classic' craft and the manner in which the entity manifested itself) adds a patina of veracity IMO.
But even if we were to give Juan José Benítez (Juanjo to his millions of fans) the benefit of the doubt, what are we to make of this incredible event? Was it a matter of 'being in the right place at the wrong time' (something many researchers still cling to when trying to find a logic behind UFO/humanoid encounters)? Or were these ETA members carefully and deliberately chosen? And if they were, why not Mohammed Atta or anyone of the other jihadists who hijacked the planes on the 9/11 attack?
(Then again, who's to say they weren't?)
These are as difficult questions as those of a more theological nature ("If God exists and loves us, why did He/She let my mom die of cancer?") which have been debated ad nauseam for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Again, each of us will find the solution which will satisfy our own particular bias. For myself, The encounter with the giant of León fascinates me, because it follows the methods by which this phenomenon chooses to interact with us --not conspicuously, as if with a massive display of UFOs over every capital of the world; but insidiously and at a 'grassroots' level, subtly affecting change over our culture one person at a time --the kind of change which could have a 'Butterfly effect' of unforeseen repercussions, only apparent to an intelligence operating outside the normal stream of Time.
That profound, personal change in close encounter witnesses seems to be more powerful than stopping a nuclear missile in midflight. And in the end it might just be the type of thing we need to keep the Doomsday clock from striking midnight.