“Don’t Eat UFO Off the Sidewalk” by David B. Metcalfe – see more of his work here
The idea and function of charisma weaves in and out of the paranormal and other liminal elements of society (cults being a big example). I address pure Weber-style charismatic authority in my previous post “Atlas Charisma”, but here I will discuss charisma emanating from consciousness-altering objects
I recall reading many accounts where the witness is mesmerized, transfixed, enchanted by (especially) the lights emitted by ufos. They often seem captivated and unable to tear their attention away from the object/light, and may fall into altered states of consciousness. My sense is that this effect goes beyond a reaction to a compelling aesthetic experience, that there is somehow a type of informational transfer occurring or trying to manifest.
I got to thinking about this recently because of David B. Metcalfe’s “Don’t Eat The UFO” drawings. One in particular reminded me of another instance of charisma exerted by non human intelligences. My husband Anthony and I were hiking around Cosumnes River Preserve one early spring when there was a bloom of mushrooms – numerous and large blooms of Amanita muscaria and Boletus edulis all through the park.
These fruiting bodies were huge – 10-14” in diameter in many cases – and incredibly striking. A. muscaria is the Christmas mushroom, red capped with white dots and renowned as leading shamans and reindeer on epic sky journeys. B. edulis is one of the choicest culinary mushrooms, and in this instance there’s no mystery as to why people would try eating them – the fruiting bodies that day resembled nothing so much as huge, delectable brioches just laying there for the munching.
In fact, in shape and color the caps looked a lot like the saucer in Metcalfe’s drawing, minus the cupola but orange-toned, lying around at ground level and very tempting.
More interesting than all these mushrooms was the reaction of every person in the park. Everyone was talking about them, pointing them out, asking if we knew what they were, if they were edible, etc. Anthony and I even had to try to talk down a group of 4-5 people who were off trail, gathered in a circle around a brightly colored group of A. muscaria. We kept telling them that those were poisonous and deadly, while they would nod their heads and say, “…yeah…” they could not take their eyes off of these mushrooms. We finally gave up and left them entranced (happily no instances of mushroom poisoning hit the news, I assume they managed to break the spell).
In both instances, saucer and mushroom, some people experience a strong attraction to interact with the intelligence which is associated with the outer manifestation. In many cases, this intelligence seems to be pushing for a physical merger – eating the mushroom, entering the saucer – which will allow intimate communication between the human and non-human consciousnesses. This attraction seems to emanate from pure charisma. It’s telling to see it manifest in non-human intelligences from earth and sky through the same shape, that of the mandala.