Thursday, September 20, 2018

We're not alone

“The Cryptoterrestrials” is a peculiar book by a self-professed “theoretical ufologist”, Mac Tonnies. The author died before his book had been completed, and it's therefore posthumously edited by his friends and family. The work comes with an introduction by Nick Redfern and a postscript by Greg Bishop. Calling it a “meditation” feels apt. While Tonnies was a good writer, the book does feel somewhat stream-of-consciousness, with the author frequently repeating himself, jumping back and forth between different speculations. Perhaps this is just an artifact of the editing made by others.

Tonnies was critical of the nuts-and-bolts Extraterrestrial Hypothesis of UFO origins. In his book, he reflects on a large number of alternative theories. Those familiar with the works of Jacques Vallée, John Keel, Carl Gustav Jung and Patrick Harpur's concept of the daimonic reality will find much that is familiar here. Tonnies also discusses the exotic skepticism of Albert Budden. He is fascinated by Whitley Strieber's outlandish abduction narratives, probably due to their strongly paranormal or “supernatural” flavor.

Somewhat unexpectedly for a thinker familiar with some aspects of occultism-esotericism, Tonnies nevertheless favors a more “physical” explanation of aliens and UFOs. He calls it the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis (CTH). In this scenario, humanity shares the planet with a more ancient race, or perhaps an evolutionary off-shot of humanity, which does everything to escape detection. The cryptoterrestrials or cryptohumans have developed an advanced technology which gives them the ability to live underground or under water. This technology can be combined with telepathy, projecting illusions of extraterrestrial craft and space aliens in order to trick humanity to look in all the wrong places. For some reason, the cryptohumans need human DNA, or perhaps human consciousness, and therefore periodically harvest it, something interpreted as “alien abduction”. Their ultimate goal remains unknown.

In the afterword, Greg Bishop assures the reader that Tonnies didn’t *really* believe this theory, being equally critical (like a good Fortean) to both his own speculations and those of others. Personally, I don't think Tonnies' case against the ETH is particularly strong, since he seems to admit that interstellar travel is possible. He complains about the ETs not behaving as ETs are supposed to behave, but how does Tonnies know how ETs are supposed to behave in the first place? He cannot explain why CTs behave the way they do, either, so why assume that extraterrestrial genetically engineered robots from a quasi-astral wormhole behaves “logically” according to our standards? Nor is his case against the occult explanations strong. In fact, the occult scenario is the one that makes most sense. The “aliens” certainly seem to behave in a way compatible with etheric or astral beings (or the collective subconscious of Jung, or the daimonic reality of Harpur…)

Of course, I don't really believe in anything I wrote in this review.


  1. " In this scenario, humanity shares the planet with a more ancient race, or perhaps an evolutionary off-shot of humanity, which does everything to escape detection."... etc. Sounds s little lika Lovecrafts Chtulhu mythos.

  2. Sorry for the misspelling of the great Cthulhu....

  3. I often misspell His name, too.