The Magonia Blog posted a review today on an important new book by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck entitled, Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times, and Their Impact on Human Culture, History and Belief (Tarcher/Penguin, 2010). You can read the review here. Two paragraphs of note:

Of course these accounts are not without interest, and the portions relating to strange lights in the sky may well contain material of interest to astronomers and meteorologists. This is particularly true of the material from the nineteenth century. For example some of the observations of dark objects crossing the sun might be early accounts of near-earth asteroids.

Though the second section entitled ‘Myths, Legends and Chariots of the Gods’ is supposed to be the one in which more mythical or even fictional material is presented, once it moves out of modern hoaxes, the differences between the two sections become rather academic. Again, it seems to invoke the sort of arguments which plagued projects like INTCAT, trying to separate out the ‘genuine’ from ‘spurious’ cases, often on the basis of personal belief and boggle factor. Again if we cannot make easy judgements about events in our own time, how can we possibly make them about events and experiences centuries ago?

I’m reading the book now, and will no doubt have similar sentiments, though I’ll probably be harsher. To this point, while this book will be valuable as a reference source, it is a parade example of over-promising and under-delivering. Stay tuned to find out why.