Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Remy’s Town
by Megan Neumann

by Andrew Hook

Her Robot Babies
by Brent Knowles

Beyond the Reach of Proof
by Seth W. Kennedy

Here Is a Fighter
by Eric Del Carlo

Invasive Species
by Kurt Heinrich Hyatt

Deciphering an ET Opening Screen
by Marilyn K. Martin

I Once Was Lost
by Edward Morris

by Melanie Rees

Respect of Headwaiters
by Tais Teng

Toy Soldier
by Leon Chan


A Case Against Saucers
by John McCormick

Atomic Light Bulbs
by Popular Mechanics




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips



A Case Against Flying Saucers

By John McCormick

OF COURSE THERE ARE THOUSANDS of real UFO sightings every decade, even many sober reports submitted by experienced pilots and astronauts—heck, I’ve seen one or two myself; however, many people seem to forget what is actually defined as a UFO.

I know at least one very famous astronaut who had reported seeing UFOs in space but who no longer discusses or even mentions this in public because of the confusion between a UFO and aliens.

Describing something as a UFO isn’t synonymous with little green or gray men or the proof of a flying saucer or alien visitor; it is simply an object in the sky that hasn’t been identified.

UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object.

And that is all it means, an object that wasn’t easily identified at first glance.

Please bear in mind that absence of proof doesn’t mean something exists any more than it means it doesn’t. Absence of proof doesn’t equal proof of absence, nor does it mean proof of existence.

Absence of proof that flying saucers exist only means that there is no evidence of flying saucers, not that there couldn’t be such evidence or that there can’t be flying saucers or aliens—just that you must believe in them without any actual proof—sort of like believing in honest politicians or that the government is here to help you.

There is also absolutely no proof that Odin, Isis, or even Ishtar (my favorite goddess; one of my dogs was named Ishtar) exist now or ever existed, but at one time a large portion of the civilized world had absolute faith that they existed, and that they even interacted with humans.

Isis and the other old gods have a lot in common with aliens. People who are dissatisfied with their lives, or can’t bring themselves to accept the limits of humanity or modern science, often turn to something mysterious and powerful but completely unproven.

By the way, you may think you know aliens, from the mythical little green men or the widely reported tall and short Grays, but those are just the tip of the comet, so to speak. There are also the Blues—as reported by some of my ancestors, the Cherokee. The Cetians (Tau Ceti) are almost impossible to tell from peoples in the Mediterranean. And many more as listed at the “Alien Races” website.

But the Grays are the ones to watch out for because they are the most common abductors, starting (as far as we know) with the Hills in 1958 New Hampshire, a closest approach actually memorialized with a highway marker.

What Lack of Evidence Suggests

There are questions that arise because of the complete lack of physical evidence.

Since 1947, when pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine objects in the sky that he couldn’t identify, why hasn’t anyone gotten a clear photo of anything that doesn’t just look like a pie plate or balloon, or more recently, a $100 quadcopter drone?

Today we have good, clear, focused, correctly exposed pictures of everything from police beatings to mall upskirts, to a congressman’s schlong. Now that everyone has a camera in their phone there seem to be far fewer alien or flying saucer sightings.

Given multiple camera images, we could triangulate height and such the way we did with the recent Russian asteroid. Triangulation from cell phones and nearly universal dash cameras in Russian cars (due to insurance fraud) made it easy to pinpoint the path, final location, and speed of the asteroid.

There is no such record for any flying saucer, which could indicate that many are optical illusions related to mirages or rainbows that are only apparent from one general location.

We’ve all seen rainbows; I’ve seen an occasional double rainbow but I’m not rushing around looking for a pot of gold.

Of course UFOs would not be visible to other potential observers in different locations if they are mere optical illusions, the same way you can never go to where a rainbow touches earth.

If we can see the UFOs in the atmosphere on radar screens, why haven’t we ever, ever seen a radar image of any sort of a giant mothership in orbit? If they don’t shield their shuttles that might be shot down, why would aliens bother concealing the big ships, if they even can?

On the other hand, atmospheric phenomena of various sorts can easily be seen on radar. If you don’t believe that, just what do you think those evening weather reports are showing? Clouds, rain, snow, hail, localized electromagnetic fields, ball lightning, plasma discharges, and, in some special circumstances, even wind can be seen on radar.

But where there is no atmosphere, up where any mythical motherships would be hovering, there can’t be any atmospheric disturbance that would show up on radar.

Another theory is that ET is looking for resources and that is why various UFOs are seen in the vicinity of metal ore deposits and mines. Putting aside the idea that if we ufo 2on Earth are already considering asteroid mining and that such a source would be an obvious choice for aliens, if aliens are looking into mines, why isn’t any ore or refined metal missing?

Rather than aliens, it is more likely that there are unusual magnetic fields near large ore deposits.

I’ve prospected using a Geiger counter and a magnetometer. Others are using gravity meters to detect ores and other geologic structures of interest. Obviously, ore bodies generate unusual fields that could cause unusual visual phenomena in specific circumstances.

Anal Retentive Aliens?

Exactly why did advanced alien medical experts always use anal probes on rural rubes? (I use the past tense because I haven’t heard of any recent reports.) Were scores of farm workers really being waylaid by aliens and, like Cartman in the fantastic first episode of “South Park,” subjected to posterior violation?

If I were a rural farm worker, I would consider carrying a medical card sewn on my jeans’ rear pocket with this:

Want to learn More?
Please see:
An Osteopathic manual, “Navigating Anorectal AnatomyNavigating Anorectal Anatomy: Terms, Planes, Spaces, Structures.”

As a former rancher, I offer this label gratis to any concerned ranch hands; feel free to copy the above label and apply it to where the sun don’t shine.

From Hilton’s White line to the intersphincteric fascial plane, there is much to explore in that region of human anatomy. Another possibility may be related more strongly to social conventions and psychology, even homophobia.

I do find it significant that reports have dropped drastically as gay tolerance has increased. I don’t think I’ve seen a report of alien anal probing since “Brokeback Mountain” hit the theaters.

And, for that matter, why anal probes? What exactly are they looking for in there? If it is true that aliens are probing, why not just buy or steal a proctology text or images from Katie Couric’s colonoscopy? Perhaps, after all, this was simply an alien misunderstanding of Aristotle’s “Posterior Analytics” (Aναλυτικα Yστερα) as read by aliens?

As you should remember from your study of Greek Classicism, “Posterior Analytics” is the section of “Organon” where Aristotle deals with definitions, scientific knowledge, and demonstrations, probably the first example of scientific method of any sort. If aliens studied the history of science on Earth, perhaps they felt they should start at the bottom, so to speak, and work their way up to more modern techniques.

If people see the Madonna and Jesus in everything from water stains to toasted cheese sandwiches, why couldn’t you explain alien spotting the same way—a triumph of belief over reality? (Remember, few churches admit that these “images” are real or miraculous in any way so by definition, it isn’t sacrilegious to find them more humorous than holy.)

Modern Aliens

Why isn’t there a single Facebook page, or blog, or Twitter account run by aliens? It would be the perfect way to make first contact, especially anonymously using Tor as their browser to keep their IP secret.

As many aliens as there supposedly are, there must be some rebel “alien,” so to speak, (or pissed-off alien teenager, or alien Jon Stewart) among them. (One counterargument is that they are here but have infiltrated our political system and are trying to destroy our way of life by bankrupting civil projects and rolling back civilization to a pre-Victorian industrial stage and religion to the 1400s so they can invade easily.)

Friar Ockham (or William of Occam with various spellings all culminating in Occam’s Razor, although not named as such until centuries later) would say the simple answer is that people believe too much.


Lest you think I am completely negative about this topic, I’ll point out that I have merely suggested that there is no evidence of alien visits. That doesn’t mean they aren’t already here among us, only that believing such is a matter of faith, like any religion, even one cynically invented by a famous science fiction novelist—if such a thing ever occurred.

If you want the other side of the story there is no better place to begin than with the Mutual UFO Network or MUFON, founded May 31, 1969. Find local chapters at the “Find a MUFON Chapter” website.

MUFON has massive archives of UFO and alien reports in a secret location known not as Warehouse 13, but as Hangar 1. You can even make your own report at the MUFON “Report a UFO” website.

Looking at the MUFON records of famous UFO reports it is interesting to note their frequency. Modern reports begin with two in 1947, then the following years: 1948, 1952, 1961, 1965, 1965, 1973, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1978, 1980, 1980, 1986, 1995, 1997, 2006, and 2008, the final MUFON famous case.

The hot period was apparently between ’61 and ’80 with 11 major events over 19 years. For example:

On April 16, 1961, 1,400 Cuban exiles supported by the CIA invaded Cuba in the infamous Bay of Pigs event.ufo 1

In 1980, the Moscow Olympic Games were boycotted.

Having lived through the entire period, much of it as a reporter, I can testify that the hot UFO period coincided pretty closely with the peak years of the Cold War fear here in the U.S.

Do you remember when everyone around you was acquiring smart phones and tiny digital cameras? That began the period when nothing was hidden, especially with cameras everywhere, at ATM machines, and even in private homes (I have two IP cameras here). That time, about 2008 or so, coincided with a major drop in reported sightings.


Many people say that belief in aliens and flying saucers is completely harmless, just another fad. Perhaps, if you don’t think we would be better off using logic and science to govern our lives and planet.

But a belief in flying saucers and aliens is based entirely on faith (and without solid evidence, it must be based on faith). It certainly resembles a religion.

At this point I should probably point out the gigantic difference between SETI, which is looking for aliens, and people who believe in aliens.

SETI is Science

I’ve supported SETI for years running SETI@home on a number of my computers. If you aren’t aware of the program, it uses three million plus computers’ idle time to analyze the vast amount of signal traffic that is recorded by the Allen Array.

The Allen Array is the informal name for the vast radio telescope system funded by Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder). Even SETI is having funding problems these days and the Array has periodically been shut down due to lack of funding. Allen only provided the millions of dollars of seed money to get the project going.

So how does UFOlogy and belief in aliens resemble a religion?

Both are characterized by belief in a higher power, belief in something often “seen” or experienced by only a select few, belief that is dismissed as myth by many people, a belief that the entity will bring great benefits to believers (and perhaps others), etc.

If it waddles, quacks, appears in Aflac commercials, and gets shot down easily, it might be a duck.

But everyone knows that religious beliefs aren’t harmful as long as they are ours.

The beliefs of others may not be quite so beneficial; e.g., people might burn witches in Europe or hang them in Salem. Mostly old women (often midwives) accused (obviously with no proof) of dealing with the devil.

The church never got around to explaining in the “Malleus Maleficarum” just why if witches knew magic they tended to be old, crippled, extremely poor women.

Or, take The Spanish Inquisition, a wonderful invention for taking the property of people who didn’t pray the “right” way. The Spanish also did a pretty thorough job on the natives in South America, claiming that they were bringing the true religion to the natives.

Of course, belief in aliens isn’t harmful in the same way as a fanatical religious belief can become. Unless you remember the Heaven’s Gate UFO group who were convinced they would be boarding an alien spaceship hidden in the tail of the Comet Hale-Bopp. The famous Heaven’s Gate cocktail was invented to help speed their spirits to the heaven-bound spaceship. It is a traditional drink prepared over the centuries, especially by Lucretia Borgia, consisting of cyanide and arsenic, with a special appetizer concocted of applesauce and a phenobarbital dressing, all washed down with vodka.

All in all, although I keep an open mind about aliens, it isn’t open enough that my brains dribble, ooze, or pour out my ears when I tilt my head. END

John McCormick is a trained physicist, science/technology journalist, and widely-published author with more than 17,000 bylines to his credit. He is a member of The National Press Club and the AAAS. His full bibliography can be accessed online.