Tracking the Watchers

Raymond E. Fowler. The Watchers II: Exploring UFOs and Near Death Experiences. Wild Flower Press, 1995.

Raymond Fowler has come a long way indeed since he was the archetypal nuts and bolts ufologist of UFOs; interplanetary visitors some twenty years ago. He is now clearly inside the paranormal, post-secularist camp along with Vallee, Streiber - who provides an introduction to this book - and Mack, and takes Hopkins and Jacobs to task for ignoring the paranormal aspects of many of their stories.

This book continues the saga of Bob and Betty Andreasson-Luca, with some of Bob's regressions, and more of Betty's. Religious themes predominate, with Betty's encounters with the Gray Watchers and the humanoid Elders. It comes as no surprise to me that Betty did indeed know of the origins of the term 'Watchers' in the apocryphal literature surrounding the Bible. Her reading appears to be much wider and more eclectic that that of the average American fundamentalist.

In my reviews of Fowler's The Watchers I predicted that this would be revealed in the sequel. As the theme of The Watchers also appeared in the little-known sequels to the John and Sue Day ('The Aveley Abduction') as published in Andy Collins's magazine The Supernaturalist, I had wondered what the common origin might have been. Fowler provides an unexpected answer: a paperback by none other that Lobsang Rampa, alias Cyril Hoskins. In fact Fowler lists a raft of possible sources for Betty's imagery, although he sees them as parallels, rather than what is obvious to the more sceptical reader: that they are sources drawn on either consciously or unconsciously. This does not mean that these sources, ranging from the Bible, through New Age literature to popular culture and film, have not been reworked with some originality.

In the part two of the book Fowler draws parallels between Bob and Betty's experiences and other abductees as recorded in Eddy Bullard's catalogue, as well as with NDEs as reported in the works of Morse, Sabom and Ring. Fowler concludes that the 'other' hails from the realms of spirit and includes the spirits of the dead (folklore motif: the dead among the fairies).

Where do we go from here? The narrative is not without millenarian potential; nor is it beyond the realms of possibility that Betty might discover - to her considerable embarrassment of course - that she is 'the woman clothed with the Sun' as mentioned in the Book of Revelations. The Gnostic millenarianism of Kenneth Ring and John Mack, which I noted in 'Blood, Vision and Brimstone' (Magonia 53, August 1995) clearly forms the background, and I wonder just how dissimilar all this was to the message of Herb Applewhite. -- Peter Rogerson, from Magonia 60, August 1997

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