Reflections On Ufology in the Canary Islands
by Manuel Carballal
Recently, Jose Gregorio Gonzalez, a good friend and editor of FRONTERA SCIENTIFICA (Scientific Frontiers) asked me, in one particular radio show, about the state of UFO research in the Canary Islands and what had the new generation of ufologists contributed to the vast corpus of the subject. My reply was swift: no authentic UFO research exists on these islands, being that reporting isn't the same thing as investigating, and only the former has taken place there.
The Canary Islands have been an inexhaustible source of news on strange and mysterious phenomena that have almost always remained unexplained precisely because the story was issued before any attempt at a logical explanation for the phenomenon. When investigating, we can neither be in favor or against the ETH--rather, we must be open and plural to any possible explanation. The UFO phenomenon is much too complex to be reduced to supernatural and messianic hypotheses, which ironically, have been the theories that reign in the Canary Islands. In other words, the belief that every light in the sky is an alien spaceship on a mission of redemption. This sort of generalization seems dangerous to me. Perhaps we do not realize it, but it is the popularizers who create states of opinion capable of reinforcing previous beliefs, and if we state: UFO = ET SPACESHIP, we can find ourselves reinforcing every contactee movement.
The lack of a serious methodology has characterized ufology in the Canary Islands. Listening to witnesses is simply not enough --even though it is the ufologist's primary tool. Information must be contrasted, data must be verified, possible causes must be discarded...only then can we propose the alien origin of the UFO phenomenon as a hypothesis. Bear in mind that 90% of UFOs can be explained as atmospheric or meteorological phenomena, meteorites, terrestrial prototypes, etc. The remaining cases tend to be more complex and of a higher level of strangeness. Even so, they can still have multiple explanations, and it is here that we venture into the most exciting of all, the one sharing a common nexus with human beings and the phenomenon's transcendental nature. The mind may hold the key to an infinty of cases, and if we link through it all the factors which make up an individual's socialization process, we may discover that the same phenomenon is reinterpreted as an apparition of the Blessed Virgin in one mind and as a UFO in another. In the final analysis, everything boils down to subjective interpretations of reality issued by individuals whose minds have been conditioned by their belief system. I remember that as a Journalism major we were reminded of the need for objectivity and impartiality, only to discover at the end that neither one of these exists. For instance, UFO researchers are not present at a UFO sighting, and what we report on is the version of something that has already been coded, decoded, and reinterpreted by the witnesses. We are not reporting on a UFO sighting, but rather, on the testimony of someone who claims to have seen one.