Ghostly Receptors: New Perspectives on Ghosts and UFOs


by Micah Hanks

Seldom are the odd parallels between ghosts and UFOs given their due and proper. After all, phenomena as seemingly unrelated as these couldn’t possibly share common ground, right?

Truth be known, when all the variables are given proper consideration, the resulting possible connections are infinite. Consider the great cosmic dilemma involving ghosts and the clothes they are inevitably described wearing. If one supposed that a ghost itself were merely a projection or other residual energy representative of the life force of the deceased individual, why would inanimate objects like clothing also appear when ghosts manifest? But how often do you hear reports of naked ghosts?

Similar questions could be asked regarding UFOs. In the 1940s people reported rocket-like craft buzzing around. Occupants of these craft were almost always described  as looking just like your average Joe, save for silvery jumpsuits and bizarre devices produced by advanced civilizations on planets like Venus and Mars. At exactly what point did they make the switch to saucer-shaped craft, and more importantly, when did the occupants unzip their human suits to reveal the Greys underneath, as described in books by Whitley Strieber and Budd Hopkins? In many situations, does it not seem more likely that ghosts and aliens appear to us as we would expect them to look?

Let us focus on a single aspect to serve as a sort of common link. We’ll rely on this to bridge the gap between UFOs and spirit phenomena, and allow us to draw parallels as we consider the following examples. Indeed, since the link we’ll use is the human mind itself, one must ask: might ghosts and UFOs only appear to be as real as our minds allow? If they exist, are they merely ghostly receptors, capable of reflecting the depths of our own imaginations?

 Witches, Flying Saucers, and Superman

In late November 2007, a strange thing appeared in the skies over Mehedinti County, Romania. Nearly 20 villagers observed a rather unconventional UFO. Instead of resembling a futuristic aerial craft, it looked more like a man “flying in a standing position” a mere 100 yards above the ground, and “wearing a shiny blue suit, just like Superman’s.”

Area police gathered written statements from all the witnesses, who they said described the figure the same in every case. One of the officers, Ion Anuta, noted they had “talked [with] people of different ages who are all reliable citizens in our village. They all said they saw this strange creature [fly] over their houses in his shiny blue costume. We’ll just have to see what happens next.”

One area villager, Constantin Toader, agreed that “he looked like Superman and…he didn’t make any smoke or sound. [He was] just cruising around.”

Many reports describing “flying humanoids” similar to this have surfaced in recent years, especially in Latin America, where they are more often described as resembling witches. It seems that when sightings and encounters of this sort occur, involving UFOs which more closely resemble objects and characters prevalent in the cultures of those who witness them, they receive nearly as much attention from psychologists as they do from UFO researchers.

Studies based on psychological perspectives often lend themselves to the idea that UFO phenomena might be somehow linked with the mind of individuals who claim to see them. Even the concept of thought projections, which suggests that such encounters are actually created within the minds of the witnesses, might be considered. However, this theory becomes harder to justify in circumstances where a large group of people witness the same phenomena, like our Romanian Superman, and yet individual descriptions remain consistent.

The Evolution of UFOs

“I think many researchers have missed this, the fact that UFOs seem to have ‘evolved’,” states UFO investigator Mobius, the alias of an independent researcher with whom I correspond, having brought to my attention the above story from Romania. “The older UFO photos, beginning in the 1940s, look to be very mechanical, but as the Sci-Fi genre received more mainstream attention in the ’60s and ’70s, the UFOs appearing in photos seemed to get high tech.”

Mobius has long supposed that UFO craft and their alien occupants might possess technology capable of interpreting ideas prevalent in the collective human consciousness, then reflecting these ideas in the way they actually appear to those who witness them. This, for instance, might explain how “flying saucers” became the most prevalent term used to describe UFOs, once the idea was put forth by Kenneth Arnold after his famous sighting of craft he described as such in the late 1940s. Similarly, during World War II when many Americans were fearful of rocket technology the Nazis or Soviet Union might have possessed, the Foo Fighters and other aerial phenomena seen around the time were often described as being rocket-like in appearance.

Ironically, Mobius himself describes seeing a craft along the lines of the early science-fiction rockets, which he witnessed along with a handful of others in the winter of 2000. “I realized I was seeing something that was impossible, not even an aspect of my own reality, but rather seemed to be some part of the ‘greater collective.’ As soon as I verified with other witnesses that said they had seen exactly what I had, the whole idea became even more amazing.

“The thing I saw was cigar shaped, ‘popped-rivet’ looking, sported a long needle nose, and had sparks falling out of the back fins like a B-Grade movie from the ’40s, literally making a joke out of its own propulsion. Similar to how one might say some ghosts are ‘imprints,’ I would say this was more like a manifestation of collective memory. Whether or not the thing was objective, alien, or something else,  it’s like what I was seeing was a replay of some cheesy 1940s movie, and should not have been in the sky that night; an illusion of reality, appearing and acting as if it was real and objective.”

Ghostly Projections

Researcher John Keel described similar phenomena in his classic book The Mothman Prophecies as rationale for some of the sightings occurring around Point Pleasant, West Virginia, at the time. In his argument, Keel drew from the ancient Indian spiritual belief that, in advanced stages of meditation, one practicing to become a yogi could meditate with such focus on the deity from whom he aspired to learn that a manifestation would occur. The resulting physical entity, called a tulpa according to Indian beliefs, would then be able to instruct the practicing yogi in the final stages of his training.

Similarly, Keel referenced a ghostly figure, said to appear in a long black cape and hat, which had been reported in the former residence of Walter Gibson, author of popular pulp novels featuring his most famous character, the Shadow. Gibson was renowned for his focus, and was said to be able to write with such concentration that he could finish an entire short novel in one weekend. Might it be that his famous character, the hero who drew his powers from the darker side of nature (and known for his fondness of long-brimmed hats, red scarves, and black capes), had somehow resulted in a “ghost” reported by many who would later reside in the house where Gibson had written his books?

Much like the ghostly Shadow Keel described, Mobius felt that what he saw was quite tangible, in spite of its odd appearance. “I’m sure it could have been photographed,” he says. “I noticed that the light it created seemed to be shutting off area streetlights, so it even interacted with its environment as if it were real. Yet somehow, to me it couldn’t have been called ‘reality’ as we normally think of it.”

Mobius compares his encounter to those of early UFO contactees, reminiscent of the craft described by the likes of George Adamski. “The early contactees claimed that their alien ‘correspondents’ said they had traveled from Mars, Venus, and places of this sort. After the Sci-Fi shows like Star Trek popularized dimensional travel with ‘light speed’ and all the technical aspects of modern space travel, the destinations that contactees began to report also seemed to be from other star systems.”

Indeed, many of the descriptions of UFOs, especially those beginning in the early 1960s, stemmed from these contactees, who not only had claimed to see UFOs, but often said they had interacted with the occupants of such craft, even having been spirited away on trips to distant planets! Most researchers today, when reviewing the extraordinary claims of those like Adamski, find such testimonies to be in stark contrast to our modern understanding of nearby planets he claimed to have visited. Still, it is interesting to consider, in spite of all the wild speculation involved, that a fertile imagination like Adamski’s might have set the precedent for what many people would claim to see in the skies above for decades to come.

If theories like what Mobius, John Keel, and others have described are valid, then the more important question might not be whether or not UFOs exist, but whether the strange things we see from time to time are actually traveling here from far away, or more simply, could in some way be “ghostly receptors,” stemming from the minds of people like you and me.

Read this and other great stories in the February 2008 of FATE! Purchase the e-edition here.

Micah A. Hanks is a writer and researcher based in Asheville, North Carolina. He hosts The Micah Hanks Radio Program Sunday nights at, as well as his weekly podcasts The Gralien Report and Middle Theory, which can be found at and Hanks is also a musician, web designer, and artist, and enjoys cooking exotic dishes at least twice a year, when time permits.