Anyone interested in UFOs knows the name Nick Redfern. Whatever your assessment of Nick’s work, he can’t be labeled a hostile debunker. He’s someone that “wants to believe.”

In this recent essay, Nick expresses his transition away from an extraterrestrial explanation for the high strangeness that is the target of UFO inquiry. He opens the essay this way:

As people who know me well will be aware, my views on the nature of the UFO phenomenon have radically changed over the years. Back when I was in my twenties, I was of the opinion that UFOs (the truly unknown ones) were extraterrestrial. As indefinitely extraterrestrial. As I slid into my thirties, however, my thoughts slowly began to change (something which also happened for a few friends of mine in the field, too). And as many people will also know, my views – today – are far closer to those suggested by John Keel. Namely, that we’re dealing with something that co-exists with us and which masquerades as ET. It’s not enough for me to say “My views have changed.” There are the reasons why my mind has altered since my early thirties (or thereabouts). And, there are several reasons, rather than just one.

The line about masquerading as ET is of special interest. I’d agree with that terminology. UFOs and alleged “alien” experiences can be cataloged in a range of file drawers. I’d label two of them as “sinister spiritual phenomenon” and “narrative of covert human deception.” Those who reflexively disagree with that characterization should give Nick’s essay a few minutes of their time. There of course are other drawers, but I can’t assign any of what ufology talks about as ET until I know ETs exist. You can NOT use one unknown as evidence or proof of another unknown. That’s transparently incoherent, at least if we care about things like logic.