> But the same can be said about any paranormal phenomena or even stuff we are
> pretty sure is outright bull. I mean, perhaps Jesus was resurrected using
> Perhaps the apparitions of the Virgin seen in so many places is actually
> nanotech in action. This really doesn't clear things up.
I understand your point fully. The reason I "singled out" UFOs is simply because, of all things paranormal, UFOs and abductions are the only phenomena that, superficially, at least, appear to implement a _technology_. And if it really is a technology that we're seeing (and it might not be), it seems it would have to be a variation of what we know collectively as "nanotech."
Thanks to [don't remember name...] for the reference to John Keel; another name to look up on the subject of paranormal concerns is Jacques Vallee. And the chapter "Theater in the Sky" in Whitley Strieber's _Communion_ is quite provoking and cogent. Strieber's position is that the course of our technological evolution is being subtly accelerated by a nonhuman intelligence...possibly the same intelligence that beamed information into the mind of Philip K. Dick. (Ever read _Valis_ or _Radio Free Albemuth_? Hot stuff!)
The Jung in me wants to attribute all of this to some sort of projected hallucination, but I don't know of any neurological mechanism that can produce a seeming phenomenon of such duration and complexity. My best guess is that we're really dealing with a nonhuman intelligence from which we can learn a lot, as it seems to be remarkably advanced and consummately postbiological. If so, it's reassuring, since it indicates that a lot of today's science fiction is attainable (mind-uploading, nano, etc.).
Maybe this is what "first contact" looks like: a very gradual program of acclimization in which any given generation of the recipient species doesn't know quite what's going on (because if it did, the urge to create might slacken or atrophy: there's ample historical context right here on Earth).
If alien species really are interested in reaching out to their neighbors (instead of imploding into virtual reeality pleasure farms, as some have feared), this scenario is actually much in keeping with some of the basic tenets of the SETI paradigm. (Radio waves? Get real! Sagan and Drake founded SETI on the impossibly rigid notion that aliens, for all of their otherwordly weirdness, would have an economic system virtually identical to our own, and would thus consider radio transmitting more cost effective than building spacecraft. They neatly bypassed exotic propulsion techniques in favor of the chemical rockets we just happened to be using at the time...it's an odd, elliptical perspective, kind of like von Daniken pointing at a cave painting and saying "Doesn't that look like a space suit?"
My answer is a cautious "yes--but a space suit circa 1960! Why would aliens millions of years our superior be wearing this ridiculous stuff?")
"Today's Abstractions are Tomorrow's Archetypes"